Posted in Proverbs, theology

Proverbs: Who Can Understand It?

By Elizabeth Prata

I love the wisdom literature (Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon). The purpose of wisdom, Proverbs 1:3 says, is to receive instruction in righteousness.  Its not to boast in how “wise” we are. Wisdom literature makes me think.

Not that the narratives or the historical books etc don’t make me think, the entire Bible does. But the wisdom literature is especially full of metaphors and symbols and cloaked language that I, who takes things literally, finds hard to understand. It’s a challenge, but a happy one.

Here’s a passage I read and loved, but found difficult to unravel. But below the passage, Barnes’ Notes helped:

I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
32Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
33A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
34and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
(Proverbs 24:30-34)

Barnes’ Notes

The chapter ends with an apologue, which may be taken as a parable of something yet deeper. The field and the vineyard are more than the man’s earthly possessions. His neglect brings barrenness or desolation to the garden of the soul. The “thorns” are evil habits that choke the good seed, and the “nettles” are those that are actually hurtful and offensive to others. The “wall” is the defense which laws and rules give to the inward life, and which the sluggard learns to disregard, and the “poverty” is the loss of the true riches of the soul, tranquility, and peace, and righteousness.

I never, never, never would have gotten that. David Hubbard wrote in The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 15: Proverbs, that the wisdom literature, especially Proverbs is rarely preached on because,

A further reason for their neglect may be the detached nature of the sayings, especially those in 10:1-22:16 where verse-by-verse exposition is difficult and discovery of the context of a given proverb even more so

If you also find the wisdom literature lovely but challenging, here are a few resources:

Books & Commentaries:

W. Robert Godfrey: Learning to Love the Psalms

The Preacher’s Commentary – Vol. 15: Proverbs by David A. Hubbard

Derek Kidner, The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes

David J.A. Clines — Job 1-20; Job 21-37 (Word Biblical Commentary)


Paul Twiss at Grace Community Church, Sermons on Proverbs

Sinclair Ferguson: Ligonier Ministries “Don’t Answer a Fool, Answer a Fool“, Proverbs 26: 4-5. This message is from our 2002 National Conference, War on the Word.


Posted in encouragement, Proverbs, submit, wife, women

Ladies, do you want to revile God’s word?

Ladis, did you ever consider the opposite of Titus 2:5? Here is the verse:

The Graphics Fairy

to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

I use the ESV.

NIV: “so that no one will malign the word of God.”
NAS: “so that the word of God will not be dishonored”
KJV: “that the word of God be not blasphemed”

The Greek word for ‘reviled’ is blasphemeo, means-

refusing to acknowledge good (worthy of respect, veneration); hence, to blaspheme which reverses moral values.”

If we are NOT self-controlled, we revile the word of the Lord,
If we are NOT pure, we revile the word of the Lord,
If we are NOT working at home, we revile the word of the Lord,
If we are NOT kind, we revile the word of the Lord,
If we are NOT submissive to our own husbands, we revile the word of the Lord,

Please think about what we do as women, widows, and wives before the Lord. I know I will try to be more careful to adhere to the behavioral standards outlined in the verse.

Posted in frugal, miser, Proverbs

Avoid the stingy man’s table

As we enter the feasting Christmas season, there is a small but powerful wisdom verse I’d like to share. During this holiday season we are often invited to places, to people’s homes, or to work-related parties. We eat with people as part of the fellowship of the season. Breaking bread over a table in hospitable fellowship should be a sweet way to celebrate the Savior. And it usually is! However, as with most things involving people (because we are all sinners), even accepting a simple invitation to sup with bosses, peers, friends, acquaintances is fraught with mine fields of the emotional and spiritual kind.

You would not think, at first, that a kind invitation to break bread at a person’s table would be fodder for deep consideration and caution. But it is- IF the person is stingy.

I am not talking about frugal because their income demands it. I am not talking about careful shepherding of the financial blessings Jesus bestows because they love Jesus and follow Him and His ways. I am talking about a person whose life is defined by how much money they do or do not have, a true miser.

The Dictionary defines miser as “One who lives very meagerly in order to hoard money.”

The bible has much to say on the subject of generosity and giving. Therefore it makes sense that there are warnings about miserly behavior. Here is the verse and afterward are three commentaries explaining it-

Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy;
do not desire his delicacies,
for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.
(Proverbs 23:6-7)

Barnes Notes: The hazard here is the hospitality of the purse-proud rich, avaricious or grudging even in his banquets.

Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible: Of him that hath an evil eye – Never eat with a covetous or stingy man; if he entertains you at his own expense, he grudges every morsel you put in your mouth. This is well marked by the wise man in the next verse: “Eat and drink, saith he: but his heart is not with thee.”

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: Beware of deceitful men, whose courtesies even you will repent of having accepted.

Should you eat with a Scrooge? The bible warns against it.

Just a quick devotional thought this morning. As always, be generous with your love, with your Spirit and with your money. ‘Tis the season … the season of Jesus all year long!