BibleProject Wisdom Series - Lesson 1

BibleProject Wisdom Series: Proverbs

In this lesson, you will explore the book of Proverbs, which is an accumulation of wisdom from generations of godly, insightful people. By studying Proverbs, you will learn how to live a life of virtue and fear of the Lord, ultimately experiencing the good life. As one of the three biblical wisdom books, Proverbs offers valuable insights into themes of wisdom and the pursuit of a fulfilling life.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject Wisdom Series
Lesson 1
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BibleProject Wisdom Series: Proverbs

I. Introduction to Proverbs

A. Accumulation of Wisdom

B. Generations of Godly Insightful People

II. Promoting a Life of Virtue

A. Fear of the Lord

B. Experiencing the Good Life

III. Biblical Wisdom Books

A. Proverbs as One of Three Wisdom Books

B. Exploring Wisdom Themes

  • Discover the accumulated wisdom of Proverbs, learn how to live a virtuous life with a fear of the Lord, and explore one of the three biblical wisdom books for a fulfilling life.
  • Ecclesiastes, one of the three books in the Bible's wisdom literature, takes a critical view of life's meaning and purpose, arguing that life is fleeting and temporary, and ultimately meaningless. However, the book offers surprising wisdom in response to this perspective, encouraging readers to find joy and contentment in life's simple pleasures.
  • In the story of Job, you explore the complex nature of suffering, innocence, and God's wisdom, ultimately learning to trust God's decisions and live in the fear of the Lord.

BP120-01 - Wisdom Series: Proverbs


Jon: There are three books in the Bible that have come to be called the Wisdom Literature, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job. 


Tim :  And all of these books are addressing the same set of questions. What kind of world are we living in and what does it look like to live well in this world? 


Jon :  So how to be good at life? 


Tim :  Yeah. So each of these books tackles these questions from a unique perspective, and it's important to understand all of them to get a fully biblical perspective on the good life. So as a thought experiment, you could actually imagine each of these books as a person. So Proverbs would be like this brilliant young teacher and Ecclesiastes is the sharp middle aged critic, And Job would be this weathered old man who's seen a lot in his day. 


Jon :  We're going to start by meeting the Book of Proverbs, the brilliant young teacher. And she's not just smart. She's smart about everything work, relationships, sex, spirituality. She has incredible insights, things you wouldn't see on your own.


Tim :  Yeah, she would be the perfect friend to have around when you need really specific advice. 


Jon :  So what makes her so smart? 


Tim :  Well, proverbs can see things that most people don't see. She believes that there's an invisible creative force in the universe that can guide people in how they should live. And you can't see it just like you can't see gravity. But it affects everything that we do. 


Jon :  So what's this force? 


Tim :  When Hebrew, it's called chokma, and it usually gets translated into English as wisdom. It's an attribute of God that God used to create the world. And hokmah has been woven into the fabric of things and how they work. So wherever people are making good or just or wise decisions, they're tapping into chokma. 


Jon :  And whenever someone's making a bad decision, they're working against chokma, right? 


Tim :  Or as it says in Proverbs chapter one, the waywardness of fools will destroy them. But the one who listens to wisdom lives in security. 


Jon :  So it's like a moral law of the universe. 


Tim :  Yeah, it's a cause and effect pattern, and no one can escape it. And Proverbs personifies all of this as a woman. 


Jon :  Yeah. Lady wisdom. 


Tim :  Right. And she roams around the earth, calling out, making herself available to anyone who's willing to listen to her and to learn. Which leads to the second thing. Proverbs believes that anyone can access and interact with wisdom and use it to make a beautiful life for yourself or for others. 


Jon :  You can create with it. Like a designer. 


Tim :  Yes. In fact, chokma in Hebrew isn't simply intellectual knowledge. The word is also used to describe a skilled artisan who excels at their craft, like woodworking or stone masonry. So you show you possess chokma when you put it to work and develop the skill of making a good life. 


Jon :  Okay, that makes sense. So let's do this. Let's go find some wisdom. 


Tim :  Before you do. Proverbs has one more really important thing to consider chokma isn't some impersonal force. It's an attribute of God himself. And so in Hebrew thought your journey to becoming wise has to begin with what Proverbs calls the fear of the Lord. It's this healthy respect for God's definition of good and evil. And true wisdom means learning those boundary lines and not crossing them. 


Jon :  Now, all those ideas you just unpacked are in chapters one through nine in Proverbs. But when I think of the Book of Proverbs, I think of the collection of sayings, the Proverbs themselves. Tell me about those. 


Tim :  Yeah, those are what you find in chapters ten. On to the end of the book. It's a collection of hundreds and hundreds of proverbs about any and all aspects of life, and Homer gets applied to them, resulting in this wise guidance to help you find a path towards success. And no matter what you do. 


Jon :  If I design my life with these sayings, life is going to be good. 


Tim :  Yeah. Or as Proverbs puts it, it'll give health to your bones, prosperity, a long, rich life, which. 


Jon :  Is a really big claim. 


Tim :  But you can see how that's often the case. Why is people, they tend to do better. Things usually work out well for them in life. And so that is the promise and the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs. 


Jon :  The Book of Proverbs is really beautiful, but if we take a step back, some people would argue it's a little too simplistic because sometimes horrible things happen to really wise people and sometimes foolish people get rewarded. It doesn't always work the way we think it should work. 


Tim :  That's right. Which is why we need to go and listen to our next wise friend. Ecclesiastes is the critic. Because he's wrestled with that very problem and he's going to push us further in our journey to find the good life.