Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. What nicknames were you given as a child? How did you get them?
2. How do you gauge success?
- good name
- leisure time and pursuits
3. How does this passage strike you? Why?
- the ramblings of an old man
- the insight of a philosopher
- the logic of a scholar
- the warm entreaty of a concerned father
4. What three sections do you observe (introduced by “my son”)? What instructions, benefits and exhortation accompany that lead-in address? Within each section, what verses best sum up what the teaching is all about?
5. How does one know if God is trustworthy (verses 5, 6)? Does such faith involve a “blind leap”? Or is faith predicated on understanding based on sound teaching (verses 1 – 4)? Why is that?
6. Who makes it possible to have wisdom (see 2 Corinthians 3:5, 6)? Why is this the only trustworthy wisdom?
7. “Poetic parallelism” is a literary device wherein the second line or verse repeats, extends or contrasts with the first. What evidence of each kind of parallelism can you find in this chapter?
8. A good name (honor and reputation) is highly prized in our culture. How does this chapter suggest you gain it (verses 4, 32, 35)? How might you lose it?
9. This chapter introduces us to the first use of short, isolated, seemingly unrelated bits of wisdom called “proverbs”. We tend to seize on these “promise” verses (often out of context). Verse 10 is a case in point: what is this promise based upon? What does it mean to honor the Lord with your finances? Gratitude? Trust? Tithing from the cream of the crops? Investing in the Lord’s work? Or what?
10. How does the Lord’s discipline (verses 11, 12) relate to His blessing? What other blessing is to be prized besides the material one (verse 13 and following)?
11. Which one of the promises and warnings seem to have “your name on it”? Why that one?
12. With verses 1 and 2 in mind, what would you say to the saddened parents of a Christian 8-year-old who was killed by a drunk driver? How might your Christian understanding of life help?
13. Whose name comes to mind as you read verses 27 and 28? Which charitable organization? Political action committee? Any unemployed neighbors? Anyone in your small group or church?
14. How can verses 5 and 6 help if a skeptic asked you, “how can you believe all those fantasies in the Bible”?
15. Where have you experienced the leading of the Lord (as in verses 5 and 6)?
16. What kind of person does the Lord “take into His confidence” (verse 26)? Would you like to be that person? At what price? For whose benefit? How are you doing at not betraying the confidences of your small group (or circle of friends)?
Take notice of verses 5 and 6 again. I think it is important to remember that how we relate to God implies more than mere reverence. Nodding in God’s direction is not enough. We must know Him and submit to Him by living closely with Him. We must relate to Him personally in every aspect of our lives.