Proverbs is part of wisdom literature, along with Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Job and Song of Songs. There are two major genres of proverbs. One is sayings, short wisdom sentences with contrasts, such as “the fool” and “the wise”, lazy and industrious, good and evil, right and wrong, helpful and selfish.
One example of that is found in Proverbs 19:1, “Better the poor whose walk is blameless that a fool whose lips are perverse.”
The second major genre we find in Proverbs is instructions, often longer poems to help train up students and they often carry with them motivation and a sense of consequences.
Proverbs 22.3 shows this: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”
Here are three ways you might consider studying the book of Proverbs.
- Pray for Focus: there is a lot of information packed into very few words. Pray that God would enable you to fully take on all that he is saying in these brief statements.
- Ponder: Let the proverb linger: don’t rush; pray that God will speak to you through his Holy Spirit in allowing you to ponder, to breathe in important nuggets for you in your life.
- Pick one proverb: go back through the reading of the day and choose just one verse to be your verse of the day. See how God uses it to encourage, strengthen, teach you and deepen your relationship with Him and those in your life.
Let’s test this. Look at Proverbs 27.17-19
17: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
18: The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.
19: As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.
Read slowly and Ponder
17 – tension, sparks may fly, things get hot, both get better
18 – do work, get benefit; help your boss, earn praise and perhaps reward
19 – what you do, what you say, how you live – comes forth from who you are
Pick One: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
This article was excerpted from an episode of our weekly video program, Encounter with God Together (EWGT), designed to bring additional reflection and meditation to the daily Bible readings each week. https://scriptureunion.org/encountertogether