Godly Education (Proverbs #1)

Text: Proverbs 1:1-6

God’s Education

  • Proverbs is not on the job training or learning by experience.  Some people take pride in learning from the school of hard knocks, but according to Proverbs that’s a fool’s way of learning because it takes too long and it costs too much.  Proverbs 22:3A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.  Proverbs 14:15 The prudent man looketh well to his going.  
  • Proverbs is a book about educating children.  There is not another book like it in the Bible that begins with the words of a father and ends with the words of a mother.  Proverbs contains principles of wise living.  God’s curriculum for children is superior to the world’s wisdom as is clearly seen in its benefits and fruit according to Proverbs 4:5-9, 8:12-21.

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

  • Proverbs contains principles of life stated briefly and simply.
  • Wisdom is the shortest distance to the blessing of God, it is the path of life
  • contrast to sin’s path where you’d spend years out of the will of God only to come back where you were many years later.  Sin’s path is longer, it cost more, it’s destructive, and there is no guarantee you’ll ever get off it in the end.
  • Short sayings.  Why short?  Because if Solomon wrote a 300 page dissertation on how wisdom is obtained, IF you even read it you’d forget half of it, or you’d get to the end and wonder what in the world he was talking about.  Instead of a 300 page dissertation on how wisdom is obtained he writes a 10 word phrase that children can remember – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  And he does this over and over again.

Proverbs are Principles and Precepts

Proverbs are principles and precepts.  A good way of understanding this is to consider this statement about seat belts; “Seat belts save lives.”  If you’re in a car wreck wearing a seatbelt you have a better chance of surviving.  Do some people who wear a seatbelt die in car wrecks?  Yes.  Occasionally people wearing a seatbelt die in a car fire.  Occasionally people not wearing a seat belt get thrown from a car and survive because they were thrown from a burning car.  That doesn’t make the statement “seat belts save lives” false.  But it shows sometimes there are other principles at work.


Proverbs is a book about skillful living.  It is a  book that promises success. Anyone who applies these principles can be a success in this life.  This nation should be blessed because we are a Christian nation.  Now, look this nation was not blessed because people were saved in it or that it was a Christian nation.  That is a loose way of saying America was blessed because of the principles that America adhered to.  If an unsaved man adhered to the proverbs then the blessings associated with the principle would be on them as well.

The beauty of God’s wisdom is it’s accessible at any stage in life.  A child can be wise and succeed as a child.  An adult with wisdom will be a successful adult.  God’s wisdom will thrive in whatever scenario it finds itself.  Wise people learn how to be students according to Proverbs 1:5.  Daniel and Joseph are two examples of godly wisdom that thrive in unfamiliar territory.  These men were skillful when it came to living.  These four areas at the beginning of

The Contrasting Characters in the Proverbs

  • Son vs Sinners
  • Righteous vs Wicked
  • Wise vs Fool
  • Prudent vs Simple
  • Wisdom vs Strange Woman
  • DIligent vs Slothful

It is a collection of short sayings that when put together like cobblestones make up the path of life.   The curriculum goes like this:

  • To know wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:2)
  • To perceive the words of understanding (Proverbs 1:2)
  • To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgement, and equity (Proverbs 1:3)
  • To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion (Proverbs 1:4)

Emphasize what God Emphasizes

To know wisdom and instruction

  • Proverbs 4:7 – God puts the premium on wisdom.  The world puts knowledge and information before wisdom.  In fact, the world’s education doesn’t even recognize wisdom as a matter of education.  But God said wisdom is the principal thing.  It’s the thing you can build on.
    • The decisions in your life and in people’s lives that determine what kind of life you have are moral decisions, better said, decisions or righteousness.
    • If I have child who doesn’t understand 4th grade math, but knows wisdom and instruction I would at the end of the day consider my child a success.  On the other hand, if I have a child who can do quadratic equations, but will not receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment and equity – meaning I have an intellectual criminal – I would regret the decision my son makes.
    • The world puts the premium on knowledge and information.  God doesn’t.
  • Proverbs 1:2, Graduating from this book you will be equipped to know wisdom.
  • To know is also a familiarity with something or someone; “Yes, I know him.” (Proverbs 7:4)
  • Jesus Christ is wisdom.  1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  So a study of Proverbs is going to make you more Christlike because the purpose of this book is to make you wise.
  • Let’s get to know wisdom.
    • Proverbs 1:20-33 – Wisdom is available.  (James 1:5).  Wisdom is FREE.  Contrast wisdom with the world’s education which comes with a high price tag.
    • Proverbs 2:6 – Wisdom comes from God.  Where does wisdom come from?
    • Proverbs 3:19 – blueprints.  Profound spiritual truths in nature.  Much of man’s invention has drowned out the wisdom, but the parables show God founded the earth by wisdom.
    • Proverbs 8:11 – Priceless.  God puts the price of wisdom above all else.  You can’t live without it.
    • Proverbs 9:10 – Begins with the fear of the Lord
    • Proverbs 10:21 – Preserves life
    • Proverbs 14:8 – Understand his way
    • Proverbs 29:15 – administered in chastening, corporeal punishment
  • Let’s get to know instruction
  • Proverbs 4:13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

To perceive the words understanding

  • to depart from evil (Job 28:28)
  • obey God’s words (Psalm 111:10)

To receive

  • instruction of wisdom
  • To receive instruction of judgment
  • To receive instruction of equity

To give

  • subtlety to the simple
  • To give discretion to the young man
  • Proverbs is intended to be preemptive.  Moral issues are not learned by experience or exposure.
    • Worldly Education – Christian parents have bought into the idea that their kids are exposed to the world so might as well get it over with.  Be careful with that thought, experience in some cases weakens the conscience and breaks down boundaries. 1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22.  Exposure does not always build strength.
    • Exposure or Experience as an opposing force to strengthen – Secondly, opposition doesn’t work to your advantage to build strength unless you are already moving.  Bringing in opposition to build strength in someone who is not moving in a direction just becomes a bad influence.  In the weight room, my muscles don’t benefit from resistance unless I’m pushing in the opposite direction.
  • Someone wise is a student of wisdom
  • To understand
    • a proverb
    • To understand the interpretation
    • To understand the words of the wise
    • To understand their dark sayings

Start where God Starts

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge

That can be thought of a couple of ways.  What does God think about what I’m about to do?  What does God think about my attitude?