Proverbial wisdom

I don’t use proverbs very often, wise sayings, pithy statements. Sometimes they feel cliche to me. Sometimes they lack originality. Sometimes I notice the exceptions more than the rule. Sometimes I prefer the snarky one-liner.

Sometimes I’m not very wise.

If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse. Proverbs 27:14



The proverbs that show up in the book of Proverbs, a collection of wise sayings classified as “wisdom literature” and appearing in the Bible after the book of Psalms, are helpful commentaries on life, both past and contemporary.

A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. Proverbs 28:3

They read differently than the history books in the Bible, lacking narrative. There are no long explanations of theological positions, as Paul writes, no letters from which we can identify something about the audience. They feel like someone walked into an office,  took all the post-it notes of encouraging words from someone’s bulletin board, and typed them up. Which is kind of true.

Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.
If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright.
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:8-11

Some people read a chapter of Proverbs a day. You get through the whole collection in a 31-day month. And I realized this week, when I read a chapter, that regular reading may not give us an application each day, but it will gradually shape how we think.

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Proverbs 28:26


About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

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