Proverbs – Week 5 Study Guide

By February 2, 2020 Small Group Study Guide

Proverbs 1: A Call to Wisdom and a Warning

OPENER

Take some time and think about all the different warning lights you have throughout the day (Car dashboard, phone, traffic lights, etc.). List them out. Think about your check engine light coming on—do you keep driving, cover it up with a post-it, or fix it? What do most people do?

Now be honest, what do you do with these warnings? Do you respond with complacency? What have been some results from your responses? Why do you respond the way you do?

Note: The problem with warnings that go on and on without any actual event happening sets us up for complacency. People become immune to warnings when nothing happens, and they then become susceptible to the danger.

OBJECTIVE/ STUDY:

Today we want to look at how Proverbs chapter 1 not only serves as the introduction of the book but also serves as a warning to all who read it.

DISCUSSION 1: A Call and Introduction

Question: Read the first 7 verses. What is the writer’s purpose?

Answer: to know wisdom. Wisdom in Scripture is a large concept that is practical, ethical, and theological. No one is wise unless they grasp these three things together.

Question: Now look at the verses again, how is the writer giving us fair warning that to walk in wisdom is not going to be easy? NOTE: This question is intended to get your members to dig into the passage, to think about what it will take to walk the path of wisdom. Wisdom is going to take full effort and attention.

Question: Verse 6 says, “To understand a proverb, a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles…” Why are riddles used, why not just a list of rules? Why is indirect language used?

Answer: 1. You can’t have rules for every situation. 2. They are general statements of how life works that make you wise and require growing wisdom to apply them appropriately. 3. You have to think deeply about them and how they apply to your situation.

DISCUSSION 2: Three Levels of Wisdom: Practical, Ethical, and Theological.

Question: Terry said the practical level of wisdom is a skill. Reread verse 1-7 and see if you can identify the practical level of wisdom? If the practical level of wisdom is a skill, what does skillful living include?

Answer: Verse 3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity. This skillful living includes…Making the simple “prudent” (prudence is situational awareness). Making the wise, wiser (we are never done growing in wisdom as a skill). We must never reach the place where we believe we are finished growing…and to keep growing, we must remain deliberate in the pursuit of growth in wisdom.

Question: What is the Ethical Level? What is the Theological Level?

Answer: Character (1:3 Instruction in righteousness, justice, and equity). Verse 7, Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Question: Why fear, why not “love of God is the beginning of wisdom?

Answer: Fear of the Lord…does not mean the absence of love…both are present in the maturing believer…love and awe, awe, and love.

Fear of the Lord is to know you exist solely at the discretion of the God who created literally everything…molecules, galaxies, the universe…if there is a multi-verse (highly doubtful)…then that too…all that is not God…God has made.

Fear of the Lord is that when he speaks, we can’t help but pay attention…we listen. When he tells us, something is so…we cannot doubt it…of course it is. Fear of the Lord makes human pride look silly, or evil, or both.

Fear of the Lord leads to obedience…of course, we will do what he wants…if we appropriately fear him…if we see just barely…who he is.

DISCUSSION 3: Warning about the Fool and Folly

Read 8-33 together out loud and identify the warning. Think about the fate of the fool and their folly. Think about the ways people are sucked into their foolishness. Think about how you can keep from being sucked into walking their path. Pay attention to differences of the simple, the fool, and the scoffer. Identify the warnings.

Note: The simple are gullible, easily lead astray…they do not have SA. The fool has taken willful steps onto the path of folly. The scoffer is at the far end of the folly spectrum. The scoffer is now a full-fledged follower of Lady folly and seeks to win others over to his position.

Question: How can we keep the warnings—threat levels—relevant, rather than waiting until we walk off the good path and something devastating happen to us? How do we keep from coming complacent?

Answer: live in loving fear of God…where we cannot lose what matters most. The wise path…empowers us to more fully engage and enjoy the life God has for us now.

APPLICATION:

The wise path…empowers us to more fully engage, and enjoy the life God has for us now…we are learning to thrive in obedience…what God wants for, we would want for ourselves if we had enough wisdom to see it.

That is why we grow in wisdom…we want to see it…we want the wise path, obedience to look good…it is good.

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