Proverbs 1:7-9, Proverbs 2:1-12, Proverbs 3:35, Proverbs 9:13-18, Proverbs 17:12, Proverbs 18:2
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom is a study which focuses on the application of biblical wisdom to our hearts and lives.
The Book of Proverbs itself is a collection of sayings, not a narrative, and much of it is not designed to be read in verse-by-verse order. Instead, Proverbs lends itself well to a topical approach, which is how we have arranged this study.
We’ve gathered a selection of wisdom sayings from throughout the Book of Proverbs into daily thematic readings. Each day’s reading is followed by a short series of questions to help you grasp the meaning of the text and then apply that day’s wisdom to your own life. This study is meant to be contemplative—light on the quantity of verses but heavy on the thoughts, questions, and prayers that flow from them.
As you come to each day’s proverbs, read them several times. Linger over them. Read them out loud if that helps you absorb them. Take time to turn them over in your mind. Then use the questions provided to help you connect the day’s Scripture with your own life.
Grace & Peace,
The He Reads Truth Team
Section One— God: Wisdom concerning the nature and values of God
In this first week of our study of Proverbs, we turn our attention upward to who God is and the wisdom He offers His people. We’ll explore topics such as the ways of wisdom and folly, the fear of God, what God commands, what God hates, and blessings and curses.
Day One— The Ways of Wisdom and Folly
The key foundational truth in Proverbs is this: to pursue wisdom is to pursue God, and to deny God is to walk in the way of a fool.
Wisdom is not just the accumulation of knowledge. It is a way we walk through life, seeking not only to know, but to interact with the truths of God. Folly, in the biblical sense of the word, is to hold the love and pursuit of truth in contempt by choosing to make our own path. A life of wisdom or folly comes from more than just the quality of the individual decisions we make. It comes from how we approach the journey of life as a whole.
Consider these proverbs that describe the way of wisdom, and also the way of folly.
The Way of Wisdom
7 The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and discipline.
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction,
and don’t reject your mother’s teaching,
9 for they will be a garland of grace on your head
and a gold chain around your neck.
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 listening closely to wisdom
and directing your heart to understanding;
3 furthermore, if you call out to insight
and lift your voice to understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it like hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up success for the upright;
He is a shield for those who live with integrity
8 so that He may guard the paths of justice
and protect the way of His loyal followers.
9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice,
and integrity—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your mind,
and knowledge will delight your heart.
11 Discretion will watch over you,
and understanding will guard you,
12 rescuing you from the way of evil—
from the one who says perverse things.
Q. These words come near the beginning of the Book of Proverbs as a way to help us read everything that follows. What do these verses suggest is the goal of growing in wisdom?
Q. According to these verses, what does wisdom give us?
Q. What do you hope a month of studying God’s wisdom will produce in you?
The Way of Folly
The wise will inherit honor,
but He holds up fools to dishonor.
13 The woman Folly is rowdy;
she is gullible and knows nothing.
14 She sits by the doorway of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling to those who pass by,
who go straight ahead on their paths:
16 “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!”
To the one who lacks sense, she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten secretly is tasty!”
18 But he doesn’t know that the departed spirits are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Better for a man to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool in his foolishness.
A fool does not delight in understanding,
but only wants to show off his opinions.
Q. Proverbs 9:13-18 describes folly as being secretive about our sin. Why is being secretive about sin foolish, and what is the value of letting trusted friends know the secrets in our lives?
Q. Look at Proverbs 18:2. What is the difference between understanding and expressing your own heart?
Q. What does it look like to “delight in understanding”? On what sorts of occasions do you do this in your life?