Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
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?