God wants you to be savvy and a street-smart Christian.
OCTOBER 17, 2023
God wants you to be savvy and a street-smart Christian. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru, and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you were listening yesterday, I said a word about what we’re going to be doing over the next few weeks, and we’re going to be looking at the Book of Proverbs. And if you’re looking for a title of this study that we’re going to be doing together, you can call it Street-Smart Christians. God would have Christians be savvy and street-smart. And one of the ways he does that is with wisdom. And one of the best ways he ever communicated wisdom was in the Book of Proverbs. And we’re going to be spending a number of weeks In this particular book, and I can hardly wait to get to it. Before I go any further, it’s really important that I give some credit to my friend Bruce Waltke. Dr. Waltke was, is, he’s in his nineties and one of the finest Old Testament scholars the church has ever had. And one book that he absolutely loves is the Book of Proverbs. And so, when I was confused, I’d go to what he said about the Book of Proverbs, and most of his life he has lived there, and we were colleagues together in a seminary for a lot of years. Not only, and this is as an aside, was he a scholar, he was kind. And he was kind to me. Sometimes when I would preach in chapel at the seminary, I’d push the envelope. Cause that’s the only way you can keep seminary students awake. And I would say crazy things and I would push the envelope of grace and sometimes Dr. Waltke would say to me, Steve, it was good, but you went a little bit far today. But he has been my resource as we have, as I have worked on this study in the Book of Proverbs. So, a good place to start is at the start. The introduction to the entire book is the first seven verses. of the Book of Proverbs, and it reads as follows.
The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity, to give prudence to the simple, to the young man, knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear and increase learning. And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel to understand a proverb, an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Now, this is what we’re going to do over the next few weeks. First, I’m going to give you some exegetical notes on the Book of Proverbs. It’s really dull stuff, but you have to do that when you’re going to be covering a book of the Bible. And then I want to spend some time looking at some overall observations about the Book of Proverbs that will be helpful, hopefully. So, the exegetical notes, that’s the formal study of a particular book of the Bible, I’m going to give those to you, and then look at some overall things about the Book of Proverbs. And after that, we’ll dig in on the Proverbs and look at what God says about how to be a street-smart Christian. Did you hear about the two men who went moose hunting in northern Canada? It was so far away that they had to be flown in to hunt with the pilot coming back at the end of the week to pick them up. Well, these men killed a very large moose, and when the pilot came back at the end of the week, they wanted to strap the moose to the plane and fly out with him. The pilot said, are you crazy? That’s too much weight. We’ll get killed if we do that. And they told the pilot that it would be no trouble and that the year before, the pilot had said the same thing, and that last year they had strapped the moose to the airplane and flown out. So the pilot, receiving the information, allowed that he would try it. They took off down the field, barely got into the air above the trees, And then the plane went down in the forest. After the crash, one of the hunters came about, came from his unconsciousness. And this is what he said, where are we? The other said, well, I’ve been looking about, and we are about a hundred and fifty yards further than we got last year. Well, it’s sort of like that, in doing a study of the Book of Proverbs. We will get as far as we can each broadcast, but we might not make it because as I said yesterday, it’s kind of like teaching the dictionary. Alright, let’s dig in. Some exegetical things, when one studies a book of the Bible, there are certain questions that are relevant to the study of the book. Now, let’s ask some of those questions. What is the nature of Proverbs? Well technically, there are four kinds of literature in the Old Testament. Historical, legal, devotional, and wisdom literature. The Book of Proverbs is in the latter category, it’s called wisdom. And it is in company with Ecclesiastes and Job and numerous other passages in the Old Testament and even some wisdom literature in the New Testament. Well, who wrote the Book of Proverbs? Well, we’re not sure. We do know that the book was connected to King Solomon. But we also know that he didn’t write all of it. It is his collection of proverbs, some of them are his own, and some of them were compiled by somebody else. Proverbs 25:1, Agur 31, Lemuel, and his mother 31:1. And as you read Proverbs, you’ll find Proverbs that predate Solomon. So, Solomon was not the author of some of Proverbs. But he was rather, probably, the compiler of the Book of Proverbs. When was the Book of Proverbs written? Well, if you’re looking for a date when the book was completed, as we have it today, you’ve got a problem. We do know that the Book of Proverbs was in its complete form by 180 BC. However, it’s obvious for a variety of reasons. That much of the compiling and editing was probably done during the time of the reign of Solomon in the 900s. What in the world is a proverb? Well, a proverb, in its simplest form, is a wise statement. These proverbs are given to us in this book in a variety of literary forms, synonymous and antithetical parallelism. And I’ll point that out as we go along. Emblematic parallelism, figures of speech, similes and metaphors. While a literary analysis of Proverbs might be of interest to scholars, that won’t serve our purpose much as we study it on Key Life. I Tell my students when they preach, they should not think of stuff that nobody can use. There are people out there who are dying, sleeping with their secretary, afraid and suicidal. And you better have some food from God’s word for God’s people and not a demonstration of your scholarship. This Book of Proverbs is extremely practical and we’re going to be looking at the practical, doable side of the Book of Proverbs. What is the outline of the Book of Proverbs? Well, frankly this is the hardest book of the Bible to outline with a possible exception of Psalms. If you’re interested, 1. Solomon’s tribute to wisdom, 2. miscellaneous Proverbs that’s 11 through 22, the Proverbs of the wise 22 through 24, the words of the wise an appendix 23 through 24, Proverbs from Hezekiah’s men 25 through 29, and the final chapters 30 through 31 Proverbs from some other people. You say, thanks a lot. I can’t use a bit of that. I know, but you’ll be better for it. You think about that. Amen.
Do you want to be a street-smart Christian? I know I do. And that is exactly what this new series from Steve on Proverbs will be about. Thank you for that, Steve. We’ll dive back into this tomorrow. So, hope you will join us for that. You know, there is a time and place for pretending, you’re playing with your kids or your grandkids, or you’re imagining some dream that you hope will one day be a reality. But there’s a time when pretending isn’t good, like pretending we’re okay when we’re actually going through some really hard stuff. Well, Steve spoke about this in a sermon called When Believing is Hard and Pretending Doesn’t Work. If you’re going through it right now, or maybe you know someone who is. I think it’s going to help. Get that sermon on CD for free right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD called When Believing is Hard and Pretending Doesn’t Work. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone, you know it’s right there next to you because you were working on Wordle. Pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.