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What are the Proverbs?

A bible verse from the old testament


The book of Proverbs is a collection of specific truths. These truths are encapsulated in short sentences. Many of them compare the benefits of being righteous to the consequences of being wicked. For example, Proverbs 11:8 says, “The righteous is delivered from trouble, but the wicked takes his place.” Proverbs 10:29 says, “The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright, but ruin to the workers of iniquity.

Proverbs express concepts that are derived from years of experience. Most of the Proverbs were written by King Solomon whose wisdom was greater than any other person in history. Here’s what the Bible says about King Solomon.

“Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the sea shore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men… and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3000 proverbs, and his songs were 1005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; He spoke also of animals, birds, and creeping things and fish. Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.”

Solomon wrote the beginning passages of the book of Proverbs. His words capture the purpose of Proverbs. Here they are:

“The Proverbs of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel: to know wisdom and instruction; to discern the sayings of understanding; to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naïve, to the youth knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear and increase in learning. And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.”

Reading the Proverbs is encouraging and instructive to those who want to live rightly before God. It provides motivation and guidance to do so, even when it is difficult. The benefits of living rightly are numerous. However, we need to be reminded of them at times. The Proverbs serve that purpose.