Christy

The Book of Proverbs Explained with Illustrations by The Bible Project

The Bible Project has combined charts and images to help us understand the books of the Bible. As the narrator explains the ideas in the Book of Proverbs, you can watch illustrations take shape on a chart demonstrating the structure and flow of the text. It’s both educational and enjoyable!

 

 

Download a Free Digital Copy of the Poster from the Video

These illustrated charts are so helpful, I encourage you to download a copy for personal study. It’s free! Courtesy of The Bible Project.

[button link=”https://thebibleproject.com/product/proverbs-poster/” color=”purple” newwindow=”yes”] Proverbs Poster[/button]

 

Video Transcript

0:03
The book of Proverbs. The word proverb typically refers to a short clever
0:07
saying that offers some kind of wisdom and this book has a lot of those.
0:12
But they’re almost all in the center section of the book chapters 10 to 29.
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But there is way more going on in the book of Proverbs especially at the beginning
0:21
-chapters 1 to 9- and the conclusion -chapters 30 and 31.
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The book’s been designed with an introduction -chapter 1 verses 1 through 9- and it first
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of all links this book to King Solomon now remember the story and first Kings chapter 3,
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Solomon had asked God for wisdom to lead Israel well, and so
0:40
Solomon became known as the wisest man in the ancient world and we’re told in
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first Kings chapter four, that he wrote thousands of proverbs and poems and
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collected knowledge about plants and animals. So Solomon was like the
0:53
fountainhead of Israel’s wisdom literature. So while not all the material
0:58
in this book is written by him personally, he is where Israel’s wisdom
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tradition began. The introduction says that by reading this book you too can
1:07
gain wisdom. Now wisdom for most of us means knowledge but the Hebrew word Khokhmah
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means much more than just mental activity, it was first to action also.
1:17
So think skill or applied knowledge. This is why back in the book of Exodus chapter 31,
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it was artists and craftsmen in Israel who were said to have to Khokhmah.
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So the purpose of this book is to help you develop a set of practical skills for
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living well in God’s world and this gets linked with another key idea in the introduction;
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The fear of the Lord. Now fear here is not about terror it’s about
1:43
a healthy sense of reverence and offer God and about my place in the universe
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it’s a moral mindset that recognizes I am NOT God and that I don’t get to make up
1:53
my own definitions of good and evil of right and wrong. Rather I need to humble
1:58
myself before God and embrace God’s definition of right and wrong even when
2:03
that’s inconvenient for me. Now this introduction leads us into the first
2:07
main section of the book chapters 1 through 9
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which also doesn’t contain short one-liner proverbs rather what we find here
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are 10 speeches from a father to a son. About how the son should listen to
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wisdom and cultivate the fear of the Lord and live accordingly which means a
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life of virtue and integrity and generosity all of which lead to success and peace.
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The father warns his son also about folly and evil and stupid decisions that
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will breed selfishness and pride all leading to ruin and shame. And so the
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son should make the pursuit of wisdom and the fear of the Lord his highest goal in life.
2:44
And this way of thinking it forms the moral logic of this entire book.
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Now these speeches from the father also clue us into what biblical wisdom literature is
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and how it’s different from other parts of the Bible. These books explore how to
2:59
live well in God’s world but wisdom is not the same as law, like what Moses gave
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Israel at Mount Sinai. And it’s not the same as prophecy, divine speech to God’s people.
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Rather wisdom literature has the accumulated insight of God’s people
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through the generations about how to live in a way that honors God and others.
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And so through the book of Proverbs now these human words about wisdom have
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been put together as God’s Word and wisdom to His people. Which connects to the
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other thing you find in chapters 1 through 9. There are four poems from
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lady wisdom. Here wisdom has been poetically personified as a woman who
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calls out to humanity to pay attention and to seek her. Wisdom says that she is
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woven into the fabric of the universe and so wherever you see people making
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wise decisions they are relying on her. So you see someone being generous or
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having sexual integrity or upholding justice they are drawing on wisdom.
4:02
These lady wisdom poems they’re a creative poetic way of exploring this idea that
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we live in God’s moral universe and that goodness and justice are objective
4:13
realities that we ignore to our own peril. And so fearing the Lord living
4:17
wisely it’s living along the grain of the universe.
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Now together these two sets of speeches from the father and Lady wisdom
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they make a powerful claim about this book that you’re not simply reading good advice,
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you’re reading God’s own invitation to learn wisdom from previous generations.
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And so in the next section of the book chapters 10 to 29 we find
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hundreds of ancient proverbs and they apply wisdom in the fear of the Lord to
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every life topic you could imagine: family, work, neighborhood, friendship, sex,
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marriage, money, anger, forgiveness, alcohol, debt, everything. And these are all
4:52
filtered through the value system of Proverbs 1-9. Now these proverbs they’re
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all pretty short, they’re easy to memorize and actually this section of the book is
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meant to become a reference work that you return to time and time again
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throughout the years which raises some important issues in learning how to read these proverbs.
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First of all proverbs are by nature about probabilities
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So you fear the LORD and you make wise good choices,
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things will likely go well for you. And if you don’t fear the LORD, you’re foolish,
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your life will likely not go so well. Now that is all often true but not always.
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Which leads to the next point.That proverbs are not promises, they’re not
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formulas for success. So some proverbs, for example:
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The fear of the Lord prolongs your life but the years of the wicked are cut short.
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Or train up a child in the way they should go and when they’re old they won’t turn from it.
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So yes, fearing God, being a moral person will most likely lead to a better longer life
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and raising your kids in a stable loving home does set them up well.
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But there are no guarantees. Lots of things can and often do go wrong in our world.
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And so lastly proverbs by nature focus on the general rule but not the
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exceptions. Which are many. And the wisdom books actually aren’t ignorant of that.
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The exceptions are with the other wisdom books Job and Ecclesiastes, are all about.
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And together these acknowledged that life is too complex for simple formulas
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which is why we need all of the wisdom books together to get the bigger picture
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this all leads to the final section of the book two large collections of poems
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first poems from a man named Agur. Who begins by acknowledging his own
6:41
ignorance and folly, and his great need for God’s wisdom.
6:45
And then Agur discovers that divine wisdom has been given to him in the scriptures which
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teach him how to live well and so Agur is put before us as like a model
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reader of the book of Proverbs somebody who’s always open to hearing God’s
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wisdom through the scriptures. The final poems are connected to a man named
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Lemuel he’s a non-Israelite king and he passes on the wisdom that was given to him by his mom.
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It´s guidance for being a wise and just leader and then the final
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poem is an acrostic or an alphabet poem where each line begins with a new letter of
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the Hebrew alphabet and the entire poems about the woman of noble character.
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It depicts a woman who lives according to the wisdom of proverbs and stands like a
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model of someone who takes God’s wisdom and then translates it into practical
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decisions and everyday life. At work or at home, in her family and in her community.
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So the book opens with words from a father to a son about listening
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to Lady wisdom and so now the book closes by offering the words of a mother
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to her son about a woman who lives wisely. The book of Proverbs is for every
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person in every season of life. It’s a guide for living wisely and well in God’s good world.
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And that’s what the book of Proverbs is all about.
Christy

An Animated Explanation of the Book of Proverbs by The Bible Project

Have you ever flipped through the Book of Proverbs reading random selections? This is one of the few books of the Bible that makes sense if you read random verses because most of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings. Most of the proverbs are tweetable in length. These short sayings offer bite-sized portions of truth for living well. Often the sayings have a biting humor or even sarcasm. The topics range from relationships, food, attitudes, work, and other practical tips.

The Bible Project presents another fabulous educational video. Enjoy and learn! (Hint: You might want to watch it more than once because it’s packed with good stuff.)

 

 

 

 

Proverbs Outline

Proverbs 1-9  The Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 10-31  A Collection of Wisdom Sayings

 

Video Transcript

0:01
There are three books in the Bible that have come to be called the wisdom literature
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Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job
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and all these books are addressing the same set of questions
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What kind of world are we living in
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and what does it look like to live well in this world?
0:15
so how to be good at life?
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Yeah! So each of these books tackles these questions from a unique perspective
0:22
and it’s important to understand all of them to get a fully biblical perspective on the good life
0:27
So as a thought experiment, you could actually imagine each of these books as a person
0:32
So Proverbs would be like this brilliant young teacher
0:35
and Ecclesiastes the sharp middle-aged critic
0:38
and Job would be the weathered old man who seen a lot in his day
0:42
We’re gonna start by meeting the book of Proverbs the brilliant teacher
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And she’s not just smart she’s smart about everything, work, relationships, sex, spirituality
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She has incredible insights things you would see on your own
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Yeah! She would be the perfect friend have around when you need really specific advice
0:59
So what makes her so smart?
1:01
Well! Proverbs can see things that most people don’t see
1:04
She believes that there is an invisible creative force in the universe that can guide people and how they should live
1:11
You can’t see it just like you can’t see the gravity but it affects everything that we do
1:16
So what’s this force?
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In Hebrew, it’s called chokma and it’s usually gets translated into English as a wisdom
1:23
It’s an attribute of God that God used to create the world
1:27
and hokmah has been woven into the fabric of thing and how they work
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So wherever people are making good or just or wise decisions they are tapping into chokma
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and whenever someone is making a bad decision they’re working against chokma
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Right! Or as it says in Proverbs chapter one
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the waywardness of fools will destroy them but the one who listens to wisdom lives in security
1:51
So it’s like a moral law of the universe
1:54
Yeah! It’s a cause-effect pattern and no one can escape
1:57
and Proverbs personifies all of this as a woman
2:01
Yeah! Lady wisdom
2:03
Right! She runs around the earth calling out making herself available to anyone who’s willing to listen to her and to learn
2:09
which leads to the second thing Proverbs believes that anyone can access
2:14
and interact with wisdom and use it to make the beautiful life for yourself or others
2:19
you can create with it like a designer
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Yes, in fact, chokma in hebrew isn’t simply intellectual knowledge
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The word is also used to describe the skilled artisan who excels at their craft like woodworking or stonemason
2:33
so you show you possess chokma when you put it to work and develop the skill of making a Good Life
2:39
OK! That makes sense. So let’s do this. Let’s go find some wisdom
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Before you do, Proverbs has one more really important thing to consider
2:47
chokma isn’t some impersonal force it’s an attribute of God himself
2:53
and so in Hebrew thought, your journey to becoming wise has to begin with what Proverbs called the Fear of the Lord
3:00
It’s this healthy respect for God’s definition of good and evil
3:04
and true wisdom means learning those boundary lines and not crossing them
3:09
Now all those ideas you just unpacked are in chapters one through nine in Proverbs
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but when I think of the book of Proverbs, I think of the collection of sayings
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the Proverbs themselves. Tell me about those
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Yeah! Those are what you find in chapters ten onto the end of the book
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it’s a collection of hundreds and hundreds of Proverbs about any and all aspects of life
3:29
and chokma gets applied to them resulting in this wise guidance
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to help you find a path toward success and no matter what you do
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if I designed my life with these sayings, life is gonna be good
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Yeah! or if proverbs puts it, it’ll give health to your bones, prosperity, a long rich life
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which is a really big claim
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but you can see how it’s often the case
3:51
wise people, they tend to do better, things usually work out well for them in life
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and so that is the promise and the wisdom of the book of Proverbs
4:01
The book of Proverbs is really beautiful but if we take a step back
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some people would argue it’s a little too simplistic
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cause sometimes horrible things happened to really wise people
4:11
and sometimes foolish people get rewarded
4:13
it doesn’t always work the way we think it should work
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that’s right which is why we need to go and listen to our next wise friend ecclesiastes the critic
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because he’s wrestled with that very problem
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and he’s going to push us further in our journey to find the Good Life
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Hey guys! Thank you for watching the Bible project
4:34
You can find a lot more videos like this one on our YouTube channel
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We believe the Bible is a unified story at all leads to Jesus and has profound wisdom for the modern world
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So we’re making videos about key themes that run throughout the whole storyline of the Bible
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We also make videos that unpack different books of the Bible
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looking at its literary structure, the themes of that book kind of like the one you just watched on Proverbs
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We’ve got a lot more videos to do and a few more series that we wanna do as well
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The Bible project it is totally supported by you guys
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and thank you so much for all that you’re doing
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we want to make this whole video library available for free to anyone anywhere
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and that’s because of you guys giving one time guests or you can sign up to become a monthly supporters as well
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On our website you could download full resolution videos
5:22
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It’s all for free on jointheBibleproject.com
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Thank you Guys