The Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 12)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 12

Questions:

1. In meeting someone new, what do you do?

  • shake hands
  • fill in the void with small talk
  • think first, speak later
  • wear your feelings on your sleeve

2. How many proverbs in this chapter can you find which refer to speech? Why is one’s speech so important in marriage? In counseling? In civil justice? In peace-making? In befriending?

3. If your use of words were compared to the way you drive a car, what kind of “talker” are you?

  • cautious, looking both ways
  • fast, running stop lights and cutting corners
  • egocentric, tooting your own horn
  • distracted, watching the guys or girls go by
  • reckless, with a few fender-benders

4. All together, what do these proverbs say positively and negatively about the power of mere words? About the value of true talk? The venom of sinful talk? Who reaps more of the consequences for good? For evil?

5. Verse 14 links words to the theme of work (see also Proverbs 14:23). What is the point of this connection? How might a career built on lies and one built on honesty illustrate this point?

6. Regarding the theme of work, what does Solomon say to your culture about . . .

  • dreamers who don’t do the actual labor but chase “fantastic” ideas
  • get-rich-quick schemers vs. sound financial planners, both of whom would sooner let their money work for them
  • welfare recipients and the roots of poverty
  • workaholics and the roots of their disease

7. How are we to handle advice (verse 15), insults (verse 16) and anxiety (verse 25)? How would these approaches work on the job? In the home?

8. If generosity or helping others is a virtue, what does verse 23 mean (see also Proverbs 10:14)?

9. “Working hard” and “diligence” contrast with “chasing fantasies” and “laziness” (verses 11, 24, 27; Proverbs 28:19, Proverbs 10:4 and Proverbs 19:24). What is the point of each contrast? When is it okay to rest from our labors?

10. In reference to Question #9, when is it okay to let our money or our employees work in our stead? When is it okay to enjoy our possessions?

11. Subject the proverbs in verses 1, 3, 13, 18, 19 and 21 to a “true-false” test. According to you, which proverbs ring “always”, “sometimes” and “never”?

12. As in Proverbs 12:9 and Proverbs 13:7, when have you pretended to be somebody you are not? How were you found out?

13. What “favor from the Lord” (verse 2) are you thankful for? What other favor do you seek? Why?

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The Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 11)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 11

Questions:

1. Which modern proverb sums up your philosophy of money management?

  • a penny saved is a penny earned
  • don’t be penny wise and pound foolish
  • you can’t take it with you
  • eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die(t)
  • he who dies with the most toys win
  • other: ______________________

2. What is one of the smarter things you have done with your money? What is one of the more foolish things?

3. What proverbs do you see in this chapter that develop the theme of generosity? Taken together, how do they shape Solomon’s view of giving?

  • generosity pays
  • money misers are miserable
  • neither a borrower, nor a lender be
  • I got mine the good old-fashioned way – I earned it
  • God helps him who helps himself

4. What is the end result of those who trust in their wealth (verses 4, 7, 28)? Who benefits from the prosperity of the righteous (verses 10, 11, 17, 24, 25)?

5. What’s wrong with using your prosperity to alleviate someone else’s debts (verse 15; see also Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 22:26, 27)? How does the story of Joseph and his brothers illustrate both aspects of this truth?

6. What proverbs do you see here that develop the theme of honesty? Taken together, how do they shape Solomon’s view of honesty?

  • scales never lie, even if people do
  • honest hurts, but it’s the best policy
  • honest does not always pay, but it’s still worth it
  • it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you have integrity
  • the heart is exceedingly corrupt

7. What is the end of those who betray truth (verses 3, 6, 11, 19, 21, 31)? How can one be sure the wicked will get their due?

8. How does Solomon’s view of riches and stewardship compare with Jesus’ view (what we are unwilling to part with will keep us from the kingdom of God)? And with Paul’s view (a generous sower will reap likewise)?

9. How satisfied are you with the way you handle money? Of the many proverbs here dealing with money matters, pick one to apply: How might its wisdom bring about the change you (and God) desire with respect to money matters?

10. What do you learn in this chapter about admitting your mistakes (verse 2)? About keeping secrets (verse 13)? Seeking guidance (verse 14)? Seeking “good” (verses 23, 27)? Pig-like behavior (verse 22)?

11. What does it mean to “win souls” (verse 30): Winning pagans to Jesus? Getting fools to adopt the ways of the wise and righteous? Or what? How are you attempting to do this? What must you do to win more?

12. How might verse 4 be construed as a “life insurance policy”? What kind of “life” is in view here? How does one receive “righteousness” and thus be delivered from “death” (see John 5:24)?

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The Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 10)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 10

Questions:

1. What was your first “real” job? What made it so “real”: money? career advancement? friendships? locale? hard work?

2. What did you do with the money you made: room and board? bills and expenses? car? clothes? fun in the sun?

3. According to Webster, a proverb is a “short, pithy, popular wise saying or precept, often in picturesque language”. How do these proverbs of Solomon fit that definition? How else would you define what you see here?

4. What do you see in this chapter that relates to hard work? What is its reward? Its opposite?

5. What aspects of the “righteous” and “the wicked” are conveyed here by the images of head? memory? mouth (or lips)? wages? desires? destinies?

6. We usually reserve discipline for children or adults who do bad things. What here suggests otherwise (verses 8, 13, 17, 25; see also Hebrews 12:4 – 13)?

7. Literary doublets tell us as much by the converse truth they imply as by the plain truth they affirm (as in verse 19). What is Solomon affirming in this verse? What does the alternative imply? How does this relate to the ‘chattering fool’ (verses 8, 10, 14, 18)?

8. What do you learn in this chapter about the material and spiritual results of righteousness? What is long-term? Immediate? Temporary? How can you “nourish many” (verse 21) with your righteousness?

9. Which proverbs in this chapter have a New Testament ring to them? For example what is the equivalent of James 5:20? Romans 6:23? Matthew 7:24 – 27?

10. Which of these Proverbs would your parents want to read to you? Which of these are written with you in mind?

11. What kind of wages have you been earning lately: joy or grief? life or punishment?

12. When has God’s rod disciplined you? What were the results? Where does it still hurt?

13. Are you desiring what God may grant? Or dreading something else may overtake you (see verse 14)?

14. How do you understand verses 6b and 11b:

  • the tongue conceals violence?
  • the tongue gets us in trouble?
  • the tongue only reflects what enters through the eyes and ears?

15. How can “love cover up all wrongs” (verse 12)? Is love blind, innocent, forgiving or what? How has this happened to you?

16. What storms are passing through you life now? How are you holding up? Where are you seeking refuge? How can your church (or small group) help you?

17. Think about the richest and the poorest people you know. Have stereotypes about wealth and poverty affected your attitude toward them? How?

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