In Pursuit of Wisdom
Proverbs Podcasts 2020
Warren E. Berkley
Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
What a treasure house of insight into life. Not just navigating life on earth with wisdom. Life in response to God, respectful of His will and boundaries. Warnings about moral crashes; simple statements of understanding about so many things pertinent to a good life on earth – and a good relationship with God.
Let’s begin here: In the Bible – Old Testament and New – there is a rich variety of types of writing.
In the New Testament – The biographical material about Jesus, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The historical narrative of the spread of the gospel in Acts. The letters or epistles. The final book – Revelation is its’ own kind of writing.
In the Old Testament – Books of History, Books of Law. Prophetic Writing. The Psalms. Wisdom literature like Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.
So, let me do a simple comparison. If you are in First and Second Thessalonians. The apostle Paul wrote these two letters to Christians in Thessalonica. In many ways, it is very much like a letter – an initial greeting, encouragement, instruction and warning suited to their needs. Those epistles read like letters; they are letters and follow that genre or form of communication.
Proverbs is not that kind of writing.
In most cultures throughout history – this has been and continues to be a common form of instruction and communication. I’m going to give you a little test. (I’m not going to be able to hear your response.) Think about it.
I’m going to begin a sentence and ask you to finish it.
Curiosity killed the ________ (cat).
Rome was not built in a ____ (day).
Let bygones be _______________ (bygones).
Those are proverbs or sayings we are familiar with – used to express some knowledge or make an observation, in a brief but memorable form. Sometimes these simply reflect experience, not objective truth. But the design is to be memorable and repeatable.
An essay, narrative or discourse is different. Proverbs are brief nuggets of wisdom, that put the spotlight on some truth we need from God.
Mike Wilson, in his book, said, “The Biblical Proverbs are God’s text messages – little, bite-sized packages of wisdom often delivered in a memorable, witty manner.”
There are places in the book of Proverbs where some extended discussion is placed. In chapter one and two, then some narrative scenes later in the book.
But in the main – we will be studying snapshots, God’s text messages.
We will be in pursuit of wisdom from God, communicated mostly in brief sayings.
As you read through Proverbs and listen to these podcasts, you’ll see all these familiar topics and relationships.
Commitment to God.
Listening to your parents.
A lot about the use of the tongue.
(In modern application, the
Warnings about sexual temptation.
The godly woman, the godly man.
I’ve named only some of the many topics we encounter in Proverbs. Remember, we are not talking about long discourses or essays or something like the epistles.
These are brief sayings, easy to commit to memory – containing wisdom from God. They are calling our names, inviting attention and reminding us of how we should be thinking, speaking, acting and reacting.
Listen to the opening:
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
What is “the fear of the Lord.” I’ll cover that in the next podcast.