(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, the last of these principles is that, “Every Proverb captures, at street level, what the Bible is about.” What the Proverbs gives us is functional or practical theology. Proverbs bridges the gap between our confessional theology and our functional theology. What does it look like to actually believe that God is sovereign, to believe that He is wise, to believe that He is good, to believe that He will save us from ourselves? That's what the Proverbs does.
So, let's look at where we’ve been so far. We've said every proverb:
- Contains the whole biblical story.
- Every Proverb is rooted in the Law of God.
- Every Proverb is rooted in the grace of God.
- Every Proverb relies on and reveals the sovereignty of God.
- Every Proverb leads us to Jesus and His cross.
- Every Proverb exposes a great moral spiritual war.
- Every Proverb points us to a paradise that is to come.
- Every Proverb is loaded with the grace of convicting power.
That's where we’ve been.
Now, here's where we’re going to go; rather than looking at the Proverbs in a verse by verse way, we’re going to spend all the rest of our time, as we walk through the Proverbs, looking at the themes that are in this portion of Scripture. These are the cords that hold the Proverbs together. They’re like strands that stretch from the beginning to the end of the Proverbs. And these strands are not just the cords that hold the Proverbs together, they are the cords that hold the great biblical narrative together. The Proverbs capture the glorious, encouraging, sight-giving, motivating, convicting, worship-inducing, life-changing themes of the Bible. I don’t know how else to say it, but they are, the Proverbs are a masterful portrait painted by a Divine Artist.
And so, I want to tick through the themes that we’re going to be looking at that work their way through the Proverbs with the hope that this will whet your appetite:
- The fear of God
- The wisdom of wisdom
- The Fatherhood of God
- The great Biblical drama
- The operation of grace
- The moral world ruled by a holy God
- The seduction of sin
- The centrality of the heart
- The great glory war
- The grace of fresh starts and new beginnings
- The importance of a life of submission
- Rich and poor and what true riches is about
- Love of neighbor
- The nature of sexual temptation
- The folly of folly
- Our rich emotional life of sadness and celebration
- The problem of anger
- The importance of work
- The stewardship of physical things
- The practicality of Godward living
- The nature of godly womanhood
- Jesus, the obedient Son
- The function of God's Law
- The glory of God
I want to end this series of introductory studies with reading the first few verses of Proverbs.
To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to youth--Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Now, here's what these verses are saying. Instruction in wise dealing--there's moral content in the Proverbs. They’re practical; they’re instruction about things we face every day. They are moral--they talk about righteousness, justice, and equity. They are for everyone from the simple and the young, to the wise; even the wise can increase in learning. They’re conceptual--they give us a worldview to the one who understands and obtains guidance. They unfold mysteries to us--to understand a proverb and a saying of the words of the wise and their riddles. In the Proverbs is moral, practical, worldview, mystery-illumining instruction for everyone! Why wouldn't you want to spend time in the Proverbs?