Scripture reading – Proverbs 1

Click on this link for translations of this Bible study. 

This is a bonus devotional for those who might value an introduction to our Scripture readings in the Book of Proverbs. My first effort at producing daily devotionals for my Hillsdale church family was in 2014, and the subject of that year-long study was “The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, King of Israel.”  You will find many of those devotions at


A Preamble (Proverbs 1:1-6)

A preamble is a concise introductory statement to a book or document. Solomon’s preamble to his collection of proverbs was recorded in the first six verses of Proverbs 1 and concludes with his purpose statement in the seventh verse. Solomon’s preamble expressed a five-fold goal for conveying his insights and understanding to his son, the future king of Israel. [Please note the words and phrases in brackets are the author’s amplifications of word meanings.]

1) “To know wisdom…” (1:2) – Wisdom is more than mere knowledge. King Solomon desired that his son would be knowledgeable and have wisdom. Wisdom implies the skillful use of knowledge. As we will observe in our Proverbs studies, a man or woman can be a genius and intellectually brilliant yet be foolish and lack wisdom. 

2) “To know … instruction (1:2) – The implication of Biblical instruction is both reproof(correction) and chastisement (corrective action; discipline).  The Hebrew word translated as “instruction” in Proverbs 1:2 is also translated as “chasten” in Proverbs 13:24, where we read, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” By application, the primary purpose for a parent to chasten a child is instructive, not punitive.

3) “To perceive [discern] the words of understanding” (1:2) – An appropriate application of this goal is one of imparting what I often describe as “common sense” (an uncommon attribute in our modern world).

4) “To receive [accept] the instruction of wisdom [i.e., disciplined instruction]justice [discerning between right and wrong], and judgment, and equity [integrity, justice; to determine what is right and fair] (1:3)

To acquire wisdom, one must have a right-heart attitude toward discipline and instruction (1:5-7).  Sociologists and pragmatists may question who or what determines right or wrong; however, our Creator has weighed in on that debate with His Law and Commandments [“for by the law is the knowledge of sin” – Romans 3:20; Exodus 20].

The fifth goal cited by Solomon for imparting his proverbs was given in verse 4, where we read:

5) “To give subtilty [discernment] to the simple [silly; foolish], to the young man knowledge and discretion[able to discern between good and evil].” (1:4)

Remember, the primary object of Solomon’s proverbs was to prepare his son to be king. A king of ancient times was the supreme judge in all judicial matters, and there was no court of appeal after he passed judgment. Solomon’s son needed to have the ability to discern between good and evil, to know what to say and what not to say, and to know when to be silent and when to speak.

Closing thoughts –

A wise man (or woman) will never stop listening or learning (1:5); however, “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7).

Are you foolish or wise?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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