The books of Proverbs is chock full of wisdom and insight; written mainly by the man who when told He could ask anything of God, chose to ask for wisdom, and yet later ignored that wisdom. There are riddles to unravel and sayings to ponder. It can be overwhelming at times, and I wanted to share a bit of Proverbs Bible Study Guide.
Proverbs is full of keys to destiny. It has marriage advice, parenting advice and monetary advice from the richest man in the world.
It is my favourite book in the Bible and I read through it regularly in different versions, often picking out a verse a day to savour and write out, and sometimes share on social media.
One of the best ways to grasp a hold of all Proverbs has to offer is to pick one word, and write out all the Scriptures on that topic. As I began to do this, I noticed four related words, (and I’m sure more), but 4 D words that have the power to make or break our lives, depending on whether or not we apply them.
To apply them we need to understand what they mean.
Let’s take for example the word discretion in this verse from the NIV.
Prov 2:11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
Words that are used in place of discretion in this Scripture in other translations include, wise choices, sound judgement and good sense, insight and understanding, foresight, reason, counsel and thoughtfulness.
So we see that thinking about, looking at, receiving counsel for and understanding a situation before jumping into it is applying wisdom.
Another word similar to discretion, is discernment or discerning and it can be interchanged with understanding, prudence, and good judgement.
A practical application for discernment could be if you went down to the beach. The wise thing to do would be stand back and survey the surf.
If you knew what you were looking for you would be able to discern (understand) where the rips were that would pull you out to sea. You’d get an idea of where rocks were, if there was anything in the water that could eat or sting you, and if there were any sudden drop offs on the ocean floor. Based on your observations you would decided whether or not it was a safe place to swim and take your family.
On the other hand if you went racing ahead just keen to get into the water, you’d miss all those things and potentially end up in a dangerous situation or get stung.
Being discerning is about understanding what is going on under the surface of situations and relationships.
Life is like that beach, but the book of Proverbs warns us what to look out for, in terms of rips and other dangers.
We can tell a lot about a person from the things they say, and Proverbs tells us exactly what to look for and avoid in a person or business relationship.
The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21
Wise people don’t just blab, they think deeply about their words, and offer them in a way that they can be heard and applied if the person hearing them is willing, though sometimes they are not.
Proverbs Bible Study Guide
Sarah Koontz said recently in her e-mail newsletter that empty barrels make the most noise, and this theme of gauging a person by the words of their mouth is only one of the many treasures she digs up in her new Bible Study, Wisdom Whispers. It’s 31 Days of practical application in the book of Proverbs while looking at life of the man who wrote this book.
While doing a word study on different words, is a great way to gain insight, understanding an overview of this book and the many different themes is invaluable. You only need a device and 15 minutes a day to start hearing the whispers of wisdom and how to apply it.
I love how incredibly thorough Sarah has been in her study and I know you will be blessed by it too!
Yes, it will take diligence and discipline, but the rewards will be priceless; and those my friend, if you didn’t quite catch them, are our next two words.
To be honest, in our current society, diligence is something we shy away from.
I’ve been guilty of thinking ‘Oh God is with me, it’ll all be good,’ without truly looking into a matter, and yes He’s with me to pick me up when I splat on my face. He even provides protection and provision in that place when I’m broke, but if I’d been diligent and researched better, I wouldn’t have gotten in that place.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
That’s why I say that combining diligence with discretion and discernment, have the power to make or break our lives.
I love how Steven K Scott, author of the Richest Man Who Ever Lived, writes about how diligence isn’t just about working hard, but also about working smart. You can be trying to chop a tree down with a hammer and it’s hard work, but not smart work.
This book is another fantastic resource on the topic of Proverbs and how he has applied these principles to several million dollar businesses.
I’m learning how essential diligence is in the blogging world. You can write your heart out and have great content, but if no one can find it, because you haven’t applied diligence to learn how to implement Search Engine Optimization or Pinterest strategies, then you’re not really using the talents God gave you well.
For a long time I expected Him to just bless my writing without diligently learning and researching, but it really didn’t work well and I saw many people who had been blogging for less time quickly overtake me in how fast their websites grew. And yes, I know numbers aren’t everything, but they are something.
When I think of the word discipline a few different things come to mind. The training of a child is one.
Proverbs 29:17 NIV
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.
A dancer is both disciplined and diligent, if they were not, their footwork would be sloppy and their dance would not be a thing of beauty that one wanted to watch.
We discipline our children so that their lives become beautiful, and yet as parents we need to be ‘dance teachers’ that bring out the best, and not come crushing down on their creativity, but channel it well.
A dancer practices the same skill over and over, standing at the barre. Sometimes we have to say the same thing over and over to our children, but it’s the how that matters too.
Discipline is often synonymous for the word correction throughout Proverbs.
But discipline is not just for our children, it’s for us too. We need to be willing to be corrected both by God and by submitting ourselves to other wise people, and prayerfully considering their advice.
Then there are the spiritual disciplines that as Christians help us grow; eg fasting, reading the Word and praying. If we are the plant, they are the water and fertiliser.
The more I practise these disciplines consistently the more God feeds into me and the more words pour out of me.
So while discipline is not just about rules and regulations, it is about training ourselves and our children in ways that help us grow, and allowing God to correct us.
So there you have it, the 4 Ds of Proverbs. We’ve been like a detective tracking down clues to Godly lives, and I don’t want it stop here.
Sarah has so many more clues to a Godly life in her study Wisdom Whispers and I’d love for you to join me and thousands of others as we go through it. Our lives are full of noise and distraction and shiny things, but the things that we will learn in Proverbs are likened to gold and sliver and precious gems, of far more value than just glitter.
These 4Ds are incredibly powerful to be praying over either yourself or a spouse. I’ve made this little list with Scriptural prayers to pray for your husband, but of course you could pray it for a child too.