Proverbs 3

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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!

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Read Proverbs 3

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.

19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
    and the clouds let drop the dew.

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
    preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
    an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
    and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
    or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
    and will keep your foot from being snared.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
    when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
    who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
    when they have done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the violent
    or choose any of their ways.

32 For the Lord detests the perverse
    but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
    but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
    but fools get only shame.

Go Deeper

In Proverbs 3, we see Solomon’s continued instructions on how to live a wise and righteous life. On the surface it might seem as if this chapter is all over the place, but we can actually pick up on a pattern that is threaded from the beginning to end of Proverbs 3. Throughout this chapter Solomon outlines sets of instructions followed by the benefits of following those instructions. Some of these instructions involve submitting to wisdom, receiving God’s discipline, and how we should interact with the people around us that God has placed in our lives. 

Towards the beginning of this chapter, we see one of the most recognizable passages in all of Proverbs. Let’s re-read these often-memorized words of Proverbs 3:5-6:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart    
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, 
and he will make your paths straight.

If you have spent much time in church at all, you have probably heard those words before (and maybe even heard a sermon or two about them). Most of us want to trust in the Lord with all our heart. But how? How do we do it when the seemingly powerful voices of the world around us are consistently nudging us to lean on our own understanding? 

First, we have to acknowledge how little of the big picture we’re able to see. As much as we wish our understanding of the world was even remotely equivalent to God’s, 1 Corinthians 1:25 says, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” Our understanding is often driven by how we feel, not necessarily what we know to be true about God.

Secondly, we submit to him in all of our ways–both the large and small. If we wake up each day and submit each appointment, meeting, conversation, and interaction to God (no matter how significant or insignificant it might seem), we develop the muscle of living faithfully. The more we learn to live faithfully in the small parts of our lives, the more natural it will become for us to live faithfully in all parts of our lives. 


  1. On your first read through this chapter, which verse(s) stuck out most to you? Why? 
  2. How has your own understanding led you astray? 
  3. What are some ways you need to submit your ways (large or small) to God today?

By the Way

Verse 3 instructs the listener to “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” This passage is reminiscent of the shema from Deuteronomy 6:5, where the Israelites are told, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” They are also instructed a couple of verses later to write those instructions on their hands and to bind them to their foreheads. The principle for us from both passages is simple: We should be marked by our devotion to Jesus and we need to constantly find ways to remind ourselves of that devotion.

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5 thoughts on “Proverbs 3”

  1. I took a peek back to 2 Chronicles 1 to refresh my memory on Solomon’s backstory. He had just succeeded his father, David, as king, “for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great” (v1). One night God appears to Solomon and and says “ask whatever you want me to give you”(v7). He asks for wisdom and knowledge to govern the people well. God was pleased with his request and granted him wisdom as well as wealth, possessions and honor like no other. The words on the pages of Proverbs originated in the heart of God and revealed to Solomon. These sayings practically tell how to live a wise and godly life and break down the benefits that are endless possibilities: a long and satisfying life, favor with God and people, a good reputation, direction, renewed health, plenty, happiness, honor, respect, safety, peace, security, friendship with God, and blessing. Why would we ever want to lean on our own understanding when trusting God to navigate our path ultimately brings such hope, comfort and delight? In this ever changing world, his enduring truth remains the same. Let’s trust him and lean into his divine wisdom, one choice at a time.

  2. While reading about how to choose wisdom in chapter 3 verse 3 bind them around the tablet of your heart was interesting. I know what I thought it meant and it did but is it what we do.? ” In Deuteronomy 6:6–9, the Lord’s commands were to be written on the people’s hearts, impressed upon their children, talked about frequently, tied as symbols on their hands, bound on their foreheads, written on the doorframes of their houses and on the city gates as a constant reminder. The idea was to take these virtues not merely as external codes to live by but to receive them into our minds and hearts so that they govern our motives and become part of our very nature.” (This is from got questions). I have framed art work that has scripture but mostly read it when it gets dusted. I now have a dry erase board that I post scriptures daily or weekly with new scripture to help remind but also so we can discuss it together and with Grands. I like the idea of posting it on the house and gates. BUT GOD just wants us to know deep in our knower who He is and that He is for us. We have to do the choosing, asking, listening, obeying and following through.

    God thank You for teaching me your commands. Thank You for that peace and prosperity that takes place as I follow them. Thank You for me binding Your word around the tablet of my heart. Thank You for continuing to see others through Your love goggles. Thank You for boldness to speak to people in my path about You with the words You give me. Thank You stillness in my head so that I hear listen and obey You today in Jesus name amen.

  3. How timely to read this chapter on wisdom the very day after some joyful celebration of one of THE wisest people I have ever known! Yesterday members of our community came together to honor Midway superintendent Dr. George Kazanas, on the occasion of his retirement from 32 years in public education.

    I had the unexpected privilege of offering the invocation, in which I thanked God publicly for something I have long thought personally: this is a man gifted with supernatural wisdom. Such wisdom has equipped him to lead wisely and well a diverse people through countless unprecedented challenges. Wisdom has yielded an exceptionally fruitful life of personal and professional success such as few people attain.

    The program concluded with personal remarks from Dr. Kazanas, in which he credited God for all his success, and affirmed multiple times what it meant to put God first in his life.

    My colleague, friend and brother is living testimony to what it truly means to love and serve God with all one’s heart, soul and mind!

    That evening I joined my regeneration:recovery group in powerful discussion on Step 11: Intimacy. Together we acknowledged that a key component of such intimacy comes from not only READING God‘s word, but from actively engaging WITH it. One suggestion we kept coming back to was the practice of posting key verses where we could find timely wisdom easily and often.

    What an attitude-shifting, life-changing, kingdom-impacting difference it makes to frame our doors – and our days – with God’s truth!  What might it look like – what might be accomplished – if I lived out Proverbs 3:5-6, particularly “in ALL my ways acknowledge him?”

    Some practical, purposeful steps quickly come to mind. Having spent significant time lately cleaning out/organizing my closet to make it function more efficiently, I’m going to add this critical step: post The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) where I can readily see it each day. I need regular reminders of the things GOD needs me to wear!

    Gracious Lord, thank you for these powerful lessons on the importance of seeking YOUR wisdom. May each of us continue to trust in you with all our hearts and lean on YOU for understanding, that we might honor you and bless each other in lives lived wisely and well.

  4. So much to ponder in each chapter! I printed out verses 3-6 so that I am reminded of them as I go about my day. As a husband and father, I need that reminder to hold on to love and faithfulness in my heart at all times, when too often selfishness and impatience rear their ugly heads.

    I am reading a helpful Christian book on marriage by Gary Thomas titled Sacred Marriage. He describes marriage for the believer as “the gym in which our capacity to experience and express God’s love is strengthened and further developed…,” (p. 40). He quotes from Katherine Anne Porter, who writes “Love must be learned and learned again and again; there is no end to it. Hate needs no instruction, but waits only to be provoked.”

    I am excited to be reading Proverbs, with its many practical lessons. May I take God’s truths to heart.

    1. I love Sacred Marriage! Thomas has another great book out (discovered courtesy of our own Scott Kedersha!), “Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage.” A powerful read!

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