The Wisdom of Proverbs

There are essentially two kinds of proverbs in the book of Proverbs.  There are proverbs that tell us what life is like and there are proverbs that tell us how to live.  One is descriptive and the other is prescriptive.  In many cases the same topic is addressed by means of these two different kinds of proverbs.  For example there are proverbs that describe what it is like to be poor.  “All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him (19:7).” There are also proverbs which tell us how we should deal with the poor.  “Whoever is gracious to the needy lends to the Lord and he will repay him for his deed. (19:17)”.  This may provide a key to understanding how wisdom operates in the book of Proverbs.  Proverbs teaches us wisdom by showing us not only what life is like but how we ought to respond to it.  Many people are able to describe life but only the wisdom of God enables us not only to understand the way the world ticks but also the way God wants us to live in it.

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