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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 3: A Matter of Life and Death *
Introduction: This morning I was reading an article about an
atheists' rally. At the rally, they were making fun of Jesus and
comparing the atheist rights movement with the homosexual rights
movement. The writer of the article pointed out that homosexual
rallies do not make fun of heterosexual marriage. Why would atheists
make fun of Christians? I've noticed that some former members of my
church do not just leave, they attack the church and make fun of it.
Why is that? I think it has to do with one of the points of our
lesson: our religious instruction as a child stays with us. Those who
leave the path of their instruction feel guilty, and so they have to
make fun of their former beliefs to help "get over" them. Let's jump
into our study of the Bible and see what new things we can discover
about religious training!
- Neck Commands
- Read Proverbs 6:20-21 and Proverbs 7:3. What do you think
it means for you to "fasten ... around your neck" and
"bind ... on your fingers" the teachings of your parents?
- Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and Proverbs 3:3. Let's take stock.
We are told to keep right teaching in our heart, around
our neck, tied to our hands (fingers) and foreheads and on
our doors and gates. That is a lot of places. Do you see a
pattern here? (The neck is the entry way to the body, and
gates and doors are the entry way to your home. Your heart
and forehead are symbols of what you think and your hands
a symbol of what you do. I think the message is that what
we allow in our homes and our minds, and what we think and
do should all be run through the filter of God's word.)
- What is the lesson if you are a parent trying to
figure out how to raise your children? (We need to
talk about God's will at every opportunity with our
children. But, we need to be especially careful
about the "entry points" of their learning.)
- Have you ever had to compare two documents to see if
they were different? Would that idea apply here? (I
think that is one lesson here. You compare what you
think and do, what you let in your home and your
body, with what is written in God's word and taught
to you by your parents. If you are not constantly
comparing, it is easy to get off track.)
- Imagine if you had such an upbringing and you were an
atheist? (It would be constant turmoil.)
- Read Proverbs 6:22-23. How will our parents' instruction,
if we are willing, help us? (They protect us all the time
by illuminating the path of life.)
- That sounds like a romantic phrase, "illuminating the
path of life." What does it mean, as a practical
matter? (How many times do we fail to think things
through? How many times do we miss critical facts?
Our decisions determine the quality of our life, and
the Proverbs tell us that what our parents taught us
about God's word will help us to make fully informed
- Life as Bread
- Read Proverbs 6:23-24. We now have an illustration of how
childhood teaching (and discipline) can help us. What does
a "smooth tongue" suggest? (Easy to listen to her.)
- Read Proverbs 6:25. What else is a problem? (Her beauty,
- Read Proverbs 6:26. Bread is good! What is the problem
with being a loaf of bread? (My version of the NIV says,
"the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread." You are
consumable, you get eaten.)
- What do you think this means - comparing you to a
loaf of bread? (Let's consider a couple of
possibilities. First, immorality will consume you. It
takes a lot away from you. Second, you are just being
used. You meet a need for the time being, but after
you are "consumed" the other person moves on.)
- Read Proverbs 6:27-28. Would anyone think he could put
fire in his lap and not be burned? (People who have
affairs think they will be able to keep it private. It is
a fun little secret. The Proverbs teach us that idea is
silly. It will be discovered and you will get burned.)
- Read Proverbs 6:30-35. These verses draw a parallel
between stealing to eat and stealing "love." How do people
react to these two different sins? (People understand why
a person would steal to eat, but they do not understand
adultery. If you steal food, there is a set penalty. If
you steal a spouse, you open yourself to unlimited
- Let's take a moment for a reality check here. Compare
Deuteronomy 17:17 with 1 Kings 11:3-4. Is this the height
of hypocrisy: a guy with 1,000 women to sleep with
lectures those of us with one spouse to keep our eyes,
minds and hands off anyone other than our one spouse? (We
obviously have a substantial gap between our teacher's
instruction and his performance. However, 1 Kings tells us
that Solomon was led astray by his wives. Solomon knows
what he is talking about.)
- Read Matthew 23:2-3 and Matthew 7:15-18. How do you
reconcile these two ideas? (I've often joked that
hypocrisy is underrated. There are evil people who do
evil things - you should avoid their teaching. At the
same time, there are people whose lives do not match
their teaching, but they are teaching the right
thing. Solomon is giving us the right advice.)
- The Analogy
- Read Proverbs 7:10-14. Why would this woman mention
"fellowship offerings?" (It suggests a veneer of religious
practice. This is okay because we are religious.)
- Read Proverbs 7:18-20. In our introduction we discussed
religious training. Now we've been mired in adultery and
prostitution for many verses. Is our 1,000 women King
Solomon really spending this much space on the issue of
- Look at these verses carefully, what argument is this
woman making? (This will be fun and I can prove that
it will not be dangerous.)
- Read Proverbs 7:22-23. Does sex outside of marriage do
liver damage? Is it really like committing suicide? (I
think Solomon is talking about a bigger picture. He tells
us that sin and false belief have real appeal. There is a
pseudo logic, pseudo spirituality, and a promise of joy.
But, it all leads to a painful death.)
- Read Zechariah 5:6-8. To what is the iniquity of the
people compared? (A woman.)
- Read Zechariah 5:9-11. Why would you build a house for a
basket? (This is obviously symbolic. The woman represents
evil, and Babylon will be the host, the dwelling place,
- Read Proverbs 7:24-27. When you consider Zechariah, do you
think these verses are addressing the issue of sex sin?
("A mighty throng" does not seem to fit our original story
of a youth walking by the house of a prostitute (Proverbs
7:7-8). Instead, this sounds like sin in general.)
- These verses start out with "pay attention" and end
up saying this leads to death. Why would you have to
urge someone to pay attention to something that would
- How quick is death from sin? (Apparently not quick
enough to automatically warrant attention. My son is
a physician, and he says that when he is giving
medical advice to those who have cancer they pay
close attention and do what he recommends. On the
other hand, those who have metabolic syndrome (high
blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar
leading to diabetes), pay no attention and rarely do
what he suggests. Both lead to death, and diabetes
can mean a painful death. Why the difference? (Those
with cancer think they face death now, those with
metabolic syndrom think they have a lot of time.)
- We started out talking about instruction to our
children. Is this part of the problem - that we are
talking how sin causes death, and they are thinking
"I'm not dying anytime soon?"
- If I'm right, what we should be teaching our
children? (We should still talk about the
ultimate result of sin, but I think it is
better to focus on the more immediate negative
result of sin.)
- Step back a moment. One of my complaints about my
youth was the focus on sin rather than grace. Have I
(we) just fallen into the failure of the prior
generation? (I believe both messages are appropriate
for our children: grace and judgment for those who
- Friend, will you take temptation in your life seriously?
Will you take the religious instruction of your children
seriously? These are life and death matters!
- Next week: Divine Wisdom.
* 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.