Sayings of Agur (Proverbs 30)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 30

Questions:

1. To what vehicle would you compare yourself or your lifestyle? And with what feature of that car do you identify?

  • Four-wheel drive truck
  • Nine-passenger van
  • Speedy sports car
  • Classic roadster
  • Comfortable sedan
  • Economy car
  • All terrain vehicle
  • Ambulance
  • Chauffeur-driven limo

2. Where would you like to take you and yours for a day’s drive in this vehicle?

3. In what ways are the “Sayings of Agur” like Solomon’s proverbs? How are they different? Which ones are more like the Psalms, addressed to God?

4. What is the point of the literary style and device which compares three and four items with one another? In using this device, is Agur:

  • losing track of his sermon outline?
  • stuttering in his speech?
  • trying to be cute, witty or chatty?
  • painting a picture without being explicit?

5. How does that style affect the content and impact of the chapter? Is his main point to observe, to suggest or to preach? Why do you think so?

6. What do you learn about Agur from verses 2 – 4? From verses 7 – 9? What assumptions about human nature and money underlie his two-fold request? Why doesn’t he pray to use poverty and riches rightly?

7. What do you learn of God from the agnostic’s questions in verse 4? From the answer in verses 5 and 6? From Agur’s prayer in verses 7 – 9? From the arrogant “eyes” of verses 11 – 14?

8. How does the character of “those” pictured in verses 11 – 14 contrast with Agur at prayer? What will happen to the “eyes” of those who arrogantly leech off others (verses 15 – 17)?

9. What is “amazing” about the “ways” and the fifth way (verses 18 – 20)?

10. What is “unbearable” about the four things (verses 21 – 23)?

11. What is so “wise” about the four “small” creatures (verses 24 – 28)?

12. What is “stately” about the next four things (verses 29 – 31)?

13. How do verses 32 and 33 tie together all the other sayings about humility?

14. After viewing Agur’s humble, artistic impressions, how do you feel?

  • “I know where this guy is coming from”
  • “I’m totally confused”
  • “But for the grace of God, there I go”
  • “I wish he would not be poetic”

15. Which gives you more grief: not enough money or too much money? Explain.

16. What childhood cravings of yours are still unsatisfied? What can you take to heart from these sayings which will help you crave things less?

17. What does it mean to “play the fool” (verse 32)? Where have you “played the fool and exalted yourself” (verses 32 and 33)? What can you take to heart from these sayings?

18. How are you tempted to add to God’s words (verse 6)? What principles of inductive group Bible study help to avoid that?

19. Of these ways, things and creatures of this chapter, with which can you most easily identify? Is the comparison at all flattering, humbling or what? How so?

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More Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 29)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 29

Questions:

1. When do you break into melody to yourself?

  • with the radio
  • in the shower
  • after church
  • never

2. As for your ability to sing, are you a Johnny one-note, a joyful noise or a one-man barbershop quartet?

3. What song is part of your bedtime ritual or teaching method with your children?

4. If you were put to mood music to the reading of this chapter, would it be classical, upbeat or just old-fashioned? In a major or minor key?

5. What might the righteous person of verse 6 choose to sing about?

6. What else marks the righteous (verses 2, 7, 16, 27)? What notes would they be singing?

7. Verses 8, 9, 11, 20, and 22 again raise the twin issues of anger and fools. How do you deal with the temperament of a fool? What hope does Solomon offer here?

8. Who are “stiff-necked” folk (verse 1)? How and when do you think such irrevocable destruction occurs?

9. What is the result of dishonesty in leadership (verse 12)? Are “fleas” (verse 12) more powerful than “rebukes” (verse 1) or “mere words” (verse 19)? Why might that be?

10. Of what value is a “revelation” (verse 18)? Why is that? What incident in Israel’s early history might be in mind here? What is significant about this convergence of law, the prophets and wisdom literature in one verse?

11. Which proverb in this chapter penetrates an area of your life?

12. If “mere words” (verse 19) or “rebukes” (verse 1) are not enough to correct someone, but only make one “stiff-necked” (verse 2), what else is needed? What does this say about nagging spouses? Stem-winding preachers? Self-help books? The Bible itself? Why are flesh and blood examples and multimedia more forceful than mere words?

13. These proverbs seem to suggest that lasting change is not externally imposed but internally motivated. When is “leaving a child to himself” (verse 15) a healthy corrective? And when is that too permissive?

14. If “from the Lord” we get justice (verse 26), what does this say about courts of appeal (civil and church)? Does one judicial process exclude the other? Or reflect the other? How will you handle your next disagreement with someone with regard to the truth?

15. What threats do righteous people face (verse 10)? What threats do you fear most?

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More Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 28)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 28

Questions:

1. In your present position, over what domain do you rule? What appeals to you about ruling your roost? Are you like the fox in charge of the hen-house or a roaring lion, king of all beasts?

2. In tackling anything new (friends, job, sport, investments, etc.) are you a high risk-taker or a steady plodder toward your goal? Cite an example.

3. What does the rambling of this chapter sound like?

  • angry street corner preacher
  • learned political scientist professor
  • wise grandma
  • police captain
  • other: _____________________

4. What is the point of all this “law and order” talk? Who is the intended audience: top brass? the ruling class? the upper class? victims of injustice? teachers? parents? Why do you think so?

5. What law is to be upheld? How is it to be applied? What abuses of that law and their victims are singled out here?

6. What point is made more vivid by the “lion” figure of speech (verses 1 and 15)? By the “driving rain” (verse 3)?

7. Who are the “wicked”? What is their behavior like? What impact do they have on others (verses 1, 4, 5, 12, 15, 28)? What will be their consequences (verses 8 – 11, 13 – 15, 17, 18, 22, 27)?

8. When this justice prevails, what will the poor be and do (verses 6, 8, 11, 19, 20)? 

9. What is the message in all this for rulers, teachers, parents, pastors/ministers and for those who follow them (verses 2, 7, 10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 24)?

10. Why confess or renounce sins? Why not cover them up (verses 13, 14, 17)? Why not wait for someone to expose or rebuke the sin (verse 23), in the hope that will buy time or save face?

11. What is the difference between (a) trusting in self (verse 26), (b) self-confidence and (c) trusting in the Lord (verse 25)? Which trust is foolish? Commendable? Prosperous? Which trust level is higher for you? (a),  (b), or (c)?

12. Which half of verses 6, 19 and 20 are true for you? In what way is it “better” to be poor? In what way can one be rich and blameless, or rich and unpunished?

13. How is verse 17 a commentary on these Bible stories? How were these characters tormented by their guilt? How can one be rid of this torment?

  • Cain and Abel
  • Saul and David
  • Judas and Jesus
  • Saul and the early Christians

14. Of what do we “rob” parents (verse 24): their life savings? their dignity? their jobs? What kind of parent robbery is tantamount to “murder” (as in verse 17)?

15. Whose favor is to be gained in verse 23? What will this favor gain you and when? Is it worth waiting for in the situation facing you?

16. Ruling and leading occur often in this chapter. Of the many “rulers” (verse 2) you have (at work, home, church, state), how do you make sense or maintain order in all that? Who is it that you are following and obeying? Are you sure of where you are being led (verse 10)? Do you really want to go “there”? What allegiance for you is the integrating one?

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