The Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 16)

Scripture Text:

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Proverbs 16

Questions:

1. Who plans most of the trips in your family? What does this involve: family consensus? long-range commitments? prayer? winning the lottery? flying by the seat of your pants? paralysis of indecision? getting lost?

2. At work, what is your usual role?

  • active initiator
  • reliable respondent
  • delegated to implement
  • just along for the ride
  • foot-dragger
  • antagonist

3. What proverbial wisdom recurs from the earlier chapters? What new themes are introduced in chapter 16? Which one raises the most questions for you?

4. What does this chapter sound like to you?

  • a personal testimony
  • a history lesson
  • a philosophy class
  •  a father-son chat
  • a career counseling session
  • money and financial advice

5. Compare verses 1 – 9 with verses 10 – 15. What are the roles and character of the Lord? Of the king? How do they compare?

6. By whose love and faithfulness is sin atoned for in this context (verse 6)? Is this a denial of God’s grace or a demand for fruits that befit repentance? How is it possible to avoid evil (verses 6 and 17)? Does that mean avoiding evil mischief-makers in verses 27 – 30? When is that not possible?

7. What principles for decision-making, goal-setting and knowing God’s will do you see here (verses 1 – 4, 9, 10, 17, 20, 25, 33)?

8. It has been said, “Man proposes, God disposes.” How is that viewpoint supported here? Likewise, to what extent does Solomon say we are “free” to set goals and reach them?

9. If “God works out everything for his own ends” (verse 4), does that make Him responsible for evil? If not, then does evil function outside His control? If so, then does evil always serve God’s purposes (such as the Pharaoh that reigned before and during the Exodus and Joseph’s brothers)? How so?

10. What role should feelings, circumstances, counsel, conscience, Scripture, casting lots (verse 33), oracles (verse 10) and the law of the land each play in knowing and doing God’s will? Which one should be determinative? Suggestive? Confirming? Suspect? Subordinate?

11. It has been said, “Don’t let the good get in the way of the better.” What “good” and “better” opportunities and options do you see laid out in this chapter (verses 8, 16, 32)? Would you choose (or have you chosen) the “better” in each case? Why or why not?

12. How would your life be different tomorrow if you didn’t “go for the gold”, but pursued wisdom instead?

13. Which aspect of God seems to be uppermost in these proverbs: guiding? just? sovereign? caring? judging? blessing? Which aspect is God showing you these days?

14. Do “disaster”, “destruction” and “death” (verses 4, 18, 25) await the wayward person by God’s design or by man’s default?

15. Who are some of the other “kings” in your life to whom you listen? Do they speak “the very words of God” (see 1 Peter 4:11)? What checks and balances on human authority does King Solomon suggest?

16. Have you said anything recently that you wish you could unsay? What were the most life-giving words you’ve spoken lately?

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