1 These are the proverbs
of King Solomon of Israel,
the son of David.
2Proverbs will teach you
wisdom and self-control
and how to understand
sayings with deep meanings.
3You will learn what is right
and honest and fair.
4From these, an ordinary person
can learn to be smart,
and young people can gain
knowledge and good sense.
5If you are already wise,
you will become even wiser.
And if you are smart,
you will learn to understand
6proverbs and sayings,
as well as words of wisdom,
and all kinds of riddles.
7 Respect and obey the Lord!
This is the beginning
Only a fool rejects wisdom
and good advice.
The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon who was widely celebrated as the wisest man who ever lived. I Kings 3 records the historic event of God appearing to Solomon and offering to give him anything he requested. Solomon’s request was unusual yet simple—he asked God for wisdom. The Bible records that God gave Solomon a “wise and understanding heart.”
The book of Proverbs records some 800 of the 3,000 wise sayings of Solomon. Proverbs exist in every culture, but many of us are more familiar with the proverbs of oral societies such as Africa and Asia. In my 30 years of mission work traveling throughout Africa and Asia, I have come across many such wise sayings.
Some African Proverbs I remember are:
- The fool speaks; the wise man listens.
- He who thinks he is leading but has no one following him is only taking a walk.”“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Some Chinese Proverbs I remember are:
- If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape 100 days of sorrow.
- Forget injuries; never forget kindnesses.
- To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.
- If you want your dinner, don’t insult the cook.
Sometimes proverbs are like riddles—you need to ponder them to understand their true meaning. A sensible person will take the time to unpack these riddles and apply them to their everyday life. As you read the book of Proverbs, I encourage you to take time to prayerfully consider the deep meaning of Solomon’s wise sayings and look for ways to apply them to your life.
God in heaven, you are all knowing and have all wisdom. Teach us to love you and to love wisdom. We know that wisdom comes from you as a gift to help us with everyday life. Please give us the gift of wisdom. Amen.