Christians are to walk with wisdom as they go through life (Eph. 5:15-17). Because time is fleeting and the days are evil, Christians must make the best use of their time. Too many people today waste their time and their lives by failing to exercise wisdom every day.
Since the Word of God claims to equip man unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:16, 1 7), it is only natural to assume that it provides us with sound advice for daily living.
The purpose of this message is to introduce the book of Proverbs as a source of great wisdom and to encourage Christians to utilize this resource in their efforts to walk wisely.
I. The purpose of the book
A. The purpose of Proverbs is stated in the first six chapters of the book: to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; and to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity.
B. The book is therefore designed to make us wise, to teach us how to act wisely and righteously, and to help us treat others with fairness. It also aims to give common sense to the ignorant, sound advice to the young, and wisdom to the wise.
II. The definition and value of wisdom
A. Wisdom can be defined as "a realistic approach to the problems of life" (20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge). Homer Hailey offers this definition of wisdom: "Wisdom is insight into the underlying causes and significance or consequence of things, which insight enables one to apply to the best end the knowledge which he has."
To illustrate: Your boss, spouse, or brother in Christ yells at you. You could react in several different ways, but wisdom is the insight that helps you decide what is the best thing to do. Wisdom will help you to react in the proper way.
B. The first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs are actually discourses extolling the value of wisdom. The virtue of wisdom is seen in the prosperous life it can produce (Prov. 3:13-18).
Wisdom also guards us against many pitfalls (Prov. 3:21-26). Some of the pitfalls are:
- Evil companionship (Prov. 1:10-19).
- Immorality (Prov. 5:1-14). An affair might appear exciting and harmless, but immorality is one of the quickest ways to destroy one's self physically, emotionally, and spiritually!
- Total ruin. Wisdom shows us a much better way of life.
III. The value of the book of Proverbs
A. Wisdom is normally gained in one of two ways:
1. Through trial and error. Sadly, this is the only way many people gain wisdom, and that is only if they survive their errors!
2. Through the experience of others. If one is willing to heed the example of others, he or she can avoid making the same mistakes. There are clear advantages to gaining wisdom in this way. You experience life unburdened by the consequences of earlier mistakes.
B. The wisdom of others is what makes the book of Proverbs so valuable. Instead of wasting our time here on earth trying to discover wisdom through the process of trial and error, we can go straight to the book of Proverbs. There we can find wisdom that is divinely inspired by God and proven to be true by generations of righteous men and women who lived out their lives by the teachings found in it.
Yes, the value of the book of Proverbs is that it provides the wisdom of God Himself! This is not to say that it is easy to glean from this wisdom (Prov. 2:1-6). But for those who look to God through His Word and prayer (James 1:5-8), God promises that wisdom will be granted them.
I hope this message will motivate you to study the book of Proverbs to glean its treasures of wisdom. Without Jesus Christ in your life, there is no way to be truly wise.
General Conference Ministerial Association