Share the BRP
As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the next 31 days. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023.
To sign up and receive the BRP daily in your inbox, go to www.biblereadingplan.org and scroll to the bottom of the page!
The book of Proverbs, similar to Psalms and Ecclesiastes, is categorized as wisdom literature in the Bible. Written (mostly) by King Solomon, the son of King David, this book is full of sayings, instructions, and principles meant to tell its readers how to live. While other books might focus on deep theological truths (like Romans) or outline a historical narrative (like Genesis or Acts), this book is full of practical guidance. While Proverbs doesn’t necessarily give us an exhaustive list of what to do and not to do, it does give us principles to live by.
The origin of this book takes place in 1 Kings 3 when Solomon, with humility, asked God for wisdom in leading the Kingdom of Israel. God ultimately granted Solomon wisdom (along with more wealth and material possessions than anyone on earth–but for more on that, read Ecclesiastes). As this book unfolds, you’ll see that wisdom on display through practical sayings and entire chapters overflowing with images and metaphors.
Chuck Swindoll, a pastor and theologian, said this about understanding Proverbs:
“Proverbs contains some of the most applicable nuggets of truth in all of the Bible. Most of the proverbs are pithy statements brimming over with imagery from the real world. This approach allows us to see very clearly how any particular proverb might be applied to any number of everyday situations we encounter—from getting out of bed in the morning to building a strong foundation in our relationships with others.”
As we read this book to begin a new year, note that we are going to go straight through with new readings each day, skipping our normal Sunday rest day format. Some days we’ll focus on the whole of what’s happening in a chapter, while other days it may be as simple as a sentence or two that we can all apply to our lives. As you read, take notes. Highlight the proverbs that stick out most to you. Commit some of them to memory. Most importantly, ask God to grow your understanding of Him through these words that we will read together over the next 31 days.
Read Proverbs 1
Purpose and Theme
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,[a]
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.[b]
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools[c] despise wisdom and instruction.
Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom
Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[d] she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
The book of Proverbs begins with an explanation for why the book was written in the first place. Solomon begins in verses 2-6 explaining some of the practical purposes of understanding the following proverbs, then he gets to the thesis statement of the book in verse 7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Fearing the Lord means having a reverence and humility for who God is and an understanding that He holds all things together. If we will humbly submit and follow Him, wisdom and knowledge will follow. The foolish, however, reject God’s ways and live as the world does.
The second section of this chapter (v. 8-19) continues to set up the book by warning against the enticement of sin. Solomon, as we know from other Old Testament narrative books, at times throughout his life rejected wise and righteous living to chase what the world had to offer him. He chased pleasure and every other worldly desire. In the same way, we too can look to the world to fulfill our desires when we feel like God is moving too slowly or that sin is more enticing than pursuing the life God has called us to live. The wise, however, flee sin because they know that it ultimately leads to death.
The final section of this chapter (v. 20-33) introduces a metaphor that is used throughout this book. Wisdom is personified as a beautiful woman, shouting loud enough for anyone to hear. But we know that not everyone listens to wisdom and we know that not everyone heeds her instructions. Let that be a reminder to us as we begin this study of Proverbs: We can choose to grow in wisdom this year. We can read these 31 chapters and find the principles that we need to learn and apply them to our lives, or we can choose to foolishly reject wisdom and chase after the world. Which will you choose?
- Who is the wisest person you know personally? Why would you say it’s that person and what has informed their worldview?
- What does it look like for you to fear the Lord?
- When was a time that you chased sin and ultimately dealt with the consequences of it like Solomon talks about in verses 8-19?
Leave a Comment Below
Join the Team
Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.