Proverbs: What makes us wise?
Have you ever read the book of Proverbs?
Whenever I do, it’s like God has spoken straight to my heart. Of course, this is true of the whole Bible. But the pithy sayings of Proverbs really strike a chord.
They’re practical and memorable, little soundbites of wisdom for everyone: young, old, men, women, Christian and sceptics.
Really? What could someone not trusting in Jesus get from the wisdom of a god they don’t believe in?
Advice or wisdom?
Well, who would reject a gem like this?
‘Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.’ Proverbs 26:20
But this isn’t just a book full of poetic quotes, or quips of advice which look good against an arty background on Instagram. If Proverbs is never more than good advice for someone, it can never translate into wisdom.
This is because:
‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.’ Proverbs 9:10
Proverbs is a collection of sayings that reveal the kind of world which God has made, and how we can flourish in it. God didn’t give us this book to create cool fridge-magnets or Instagram posts;
He gave it to us so we can grow to be like him.
A wise person
But we should be careful.
If we treat Proverbs as a how-to manual of godly living, we’ll be disappointed. Wisdom in God’s world isn’t just about the what or how of our lives. It’s about the who.
Proverbs points us to Jesus – the very wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:30). Knowledge of God through him is the gateway to wisdom.
So yes, we can and should draw practical advice and wisdom from Proverbs. But do so through the lens of Jesus Christ, who fulfilled each proverb on your behalf.
Believing this, we’ll truly grow in wisdom.