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Sabbath School Lessons on Proverbs
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 2: From Ears to Feet *
Introduction: One tip I share with young pastors is that sermons need
to be filled with stories. This may seem illogical. If you have 20-30
minutes for a sermon, you need to pack in as much "meat" as possible,
and avoid the fluff, right? Wrong! I recall one preacher who went
from Bible text to Bible text to pound out his points. Not an ounce
of "fat" in his sermon. But, an hour later, no one could recall what
he said. If his sermon was heard, it did not stick. Stories make
people listen and make your points stick. Remembering a point helps
it to shape your decisions. Jesus demonstrated this with His
parables. Listening is the starting point for our study this week
about making right decisions, so let's jump right into our study of
- Paying Attention and Health
- Read Proverbs 4:20. What is the most important thing about
speaking? (Having someone "pay attention.")
- Do you think this is easier today then it was when
you were a young person? (These days video and smart
phones are real competition for paying attention.)
- Read Proverbs 4:21. What is the next important thing about
speaking? (Having your words remembered. Putting your
words into practice.)
- I recall a study finding that the attention span of jurors
is seven minutes. Imagine that! In a strange setting, a
courtroom, when lives or property turn on your decision,
and your attention span is only seven minutes! Imagine
what it is in church. I've mentioned stories, what else
might you do to promote paying attention to your words?
(In both my Bible and law school classes I move around a
lot when I teach. Asking a lot of questions, audience
participation, humor, and visual aids are all part of my
strategy of keeping the audience focused. You may have
noticed that a great deal of the Bible consists of
- Read Proverbs 4:22. On the face of it this is an odd
statement. You want others to learn from you, yet the
outcome has to do with life and health. Are you teaching
about nutrition? (Recall that the subject is God's wisdom.
Following God's plan for your life promotes longevity (see
Proverbs 3:1-2) and better health (see Proverbs 3:7-8).)
- When Proverbs 4:22 promises "health to a one's whole
body," do you think this includes mental health?
- Read Proverbs 1:1, Ecclesiastes 9:5 and Ecclesiastes 9:9.
Proverbs tells us that Solomon was the writer/editor of
the Proverbs. Do these texts in Ecclesiastes sound like
they were written by someone with perfect mental health?
(My reading of Solomon's writings make me think he
suffered from depression. Ecclesiastes 9:5 is often cited
regarding the state of the dead, but that makes no sense
to me because the next phrase is that the dead "have no
further reward." No Christian who believes in heaven
thinks the dead in Jesus have "no further reward." This
is the statement of a depressed man.)
- If I'm correct that King Solomon suffered from
depression, what does this say about Solomon's
statement that wisdom gives "health to a man's whole
body?" (This gives his words more credibility. A
person suffering from depression would understand the
advantage of following God's wisdom. We know Solomon
did not always follow his own advice. Thus, he
understood how following God's way helps us deal with
- Read Proverbs 4:23-25. When you are hearing words of
wisdom and trying to put them into action, what should you
be doing at the same time? (You need to take some
defensive actions. You need to guard what comes into your
mind (your heart). This has to do with what you see, what
you have as your goals, and what you say.)
- Fidelity and Prosperity
- Read Proverbs 5:1-4. Why do people have sex outside of
marriage? (We like honey. These verses suggest an
- Why is "smooth speech" part of it? I doubt most
people who have affairs do so because of public
speaking skills! (I think most people have affairs
because of ego. It is a great compliment that someone
other than your spouse is attracted to you. That is
where "smooth speech" is relevant.)
- What is at the end of the honey and ego boost?
- What do you think is meant by the double-edged sword?
(The one with whom you have an affair hurts you.)
- Read Proverbs 5:7-8. What is the practical advice for
avoiding an affair? (Don't go near, stay away.)
- Is that the reaction of most people? (You like the
honey, you like the ego boost, so the natural heart
gets as close as possible thinking that danger can be
- Read Proverbs 5:9-10. How does this fate fit with the idea
of an ego boost? (Just the opposite occurs. You lose your
honor, your dignity, and your wealth.)
- Is Solomon just making this up, or does this match
your perception of reality?
- Read Proverbs 5:15-18. This is an interesting word
picture. What does water bring? (Life. Intercourse brings
life. The idea is that sexual intercourse is something
special between a husband and wife.)
- My wife (I've been married over forty years),
regularly points out women whose husbands left them
when the wife was in her 50's. These men did not
rejoice in the wife of their youth. Why not?
(Generally, they find a more youthful wife. This is
the "honey" aspect of things. The Bible says it turns
to gall. Perhaps the gall comes when the new wife
realizes she is married to an old man! Couples who
have been married for a long time realize the
enduring joy in the relationship - at least that is
- Prudence and Money
- Read Proverbs 6:1-2. What is the problem? (You have made a
performance promise for your friend or neighbor. A common
example would be co-signing on a loan for a friend.)
- Read Proverbs 6:3-5. What is the solution to this kind of
problem? (Don't do it in the first place!)
- What if you already did it? What is verse 3 telling
us when it says "give your neighbor no rest?" (You
need to hound the one who you agreed to support to
make sure that he performs the obligation. The
friend needs to be hounded to pay off the loan.)
- What other solution does this text give us? (To act
quickly. Be prompt about addressing this problem.)
- Read Proverbs 6:6-7. Who is counseled to consider the ant?
(The lazy person.)
- Why does the text point out that the ant has no
ruler? (The ant is a "self-starter." He does not need
someone to urge him to work.)
- Do you think these verses say anything about
God's preferred form of government? (It tells
us that success in work does not depend on
- Read Proverbs 6:8. Why is it important for the ant to
gather and store in summer and the harvest? (When the work
is there, when it is available, the ant does what is
- What is the lesson for us? (Don't procrastinate.)
- Read Proverbs 6:9-11. I recently read a study that found
that Americans do not sleep enough. Should those in
America reading this text pat themselves on the back?
- Why is sleep like an armed robber? (Laziness will
deprive you of things - just like a robber. Despite
the sleep statistics, this is a caution about putting
off work. If you get into that mind set, then poverty
is an issue.)
- We just finished a study of James, where James has
some cutting things to say about the rich. While
Americans may not be getting enough sleep, a 2013
study shows that only 58.6% are working. What does
this suggest about the source of poverty? (People
need to look at the ant and to work when they can.)
- Friend, we have covered a lot of ground! What is our
lesson in one sentence? Listen to God, put His words in
effect, and you will enjoy health, have a better marriage,
and have more money. Will you take this path to success?
- Next week: A Matter of Life and Death.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.