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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 4: Divine Wisdom *
Introduction: Does truth vary for each person? Someone recently wrote
to me "there are many paths in life," to which I responded, "but only
one leads to the right destination." Lawyers understand this
intuitively. The "rule of law" means that you have only one law.
Rulers cannot do anything they want. Neither can the ruled. Instead,
we agree on what should be the rule of law for a country. You might
disagree on how to apply it, but there can only be one law if we are
going to have any sense of order. Our study in Proverbs this week is
on wisdom. God operates based on the rule of law, and wisdom is a
rule about how to live. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and
find out more!
- Wisdom's Call
- Read Proverbs 8:1-3. To what is wisdom compared here? (At
least two things: understanding and someone seeking
- Wisdom calls from "the heights," "where the paths
meet," and "the gates" and "the entrances" to the
city. How should we understand these different
geographic references? (These are all places where
wisdom will find listeners. These are places people
- Wisdom has hired a good public relations team!
What is the theological message? (That humans
are without excuse for missing the Biblical
message of wisdom.)
- Read Proverbs 8:4-5. What other excuse for not heeding the
call of wisdom is eliminated here? (The argument that some
are too stupid or too foolish to understand wisdom. It is
truly available to all.)
- Wisdom's Message
- Read Proverbs 8:6-8. What kind of message does wisdom
bring? (One which is true and just. It is never wicked,
crooked or perverse.)
- Does this allow for several versions of wisdom, some
of which contradict each other?
- Read Proverbs 8:9. What does this suggest is the reason
why some would take different paths in life which are not
wise? (A person who lacks discernment or knowledge could
reject the message.)
- I thought we just decided that even the foolish and
the stupid could grasp wisdom? (The important part is
"grasp." You have to want to understand God's wisdom.
If you do, it is available to all.)
- Wisdom's Payoff
- Read Proverbs 8:10-11. Why do most people want silver,
gold or rubies? (They represent security, dignity, and
- What does this teach us about wisdom? (That it brings
these things (security, dignity and happiness)and
- Read Proverbs 8:18-21. How do you explain the relative
poverty of Jesus and His disciples? (If Jesus had come as
an earthy king, we might argue that He was not tempted in
all the ways that we are tempted. See Hebrews 4:15. Jesus
had many disadvantages. I think the general teaching of
the Bible is that obedience to God brings prosperity.)
- Read Proverbs 8:12. The Bible seems to say that wisdom is
a cluster of virtues which include prudence, knowledge and
discretion. The foolish lack prudence and discretion. Is
it fair to say that the foolish can gain God's wisdom? (I
think this is another suggestion that God's wisdom changes
us. It takes away our foolishness. It includes "knowledge
and discretion" and it is a close companion to prudence.)
- Do you know a person who has wisdom: knowledge,
discretion, and prudence? How is that person's life
- Let's skip down to the next chapter for a moment. Read
Proverbs 9:10-12. What is the connection between wisdom
and reading our Bible?
- How else will wisdom benefit us? (Not only will we
have security, dignity and happiness, but we will
live longer! Wisdom has a reward.)
- The Source of Wisdom
- Read Proverbs 8:13. Let's be honest for a moment. Aren't
you attracted to evil (sin)? Why does James tell us
"Resist the devil" ( James 4:7)and Hebrews refer to the
"pleasures of sin" ( Hebrews 11:25) if sin were not
- If you are attracted to some sins, then how can
Solomon talk about "hat[ing] evil?"
- Who is the "I" in "I hate pride and arrogance?" (If
you look back to Proverbs 8:12 we see the "I" is
wisdom. As we progress along the path of wisdom we
will come to hate sin. Why? Because we will better
understand its consequences.)
- Notice that wisdom hates pride, arrogance, evil
behavior and perverse speech. How common are pride
- Look again at the beginning of Proverbs 8:13 and Proverbs
9:10. Who is the source of all true wisdom? (God. We need
to go to the right source.)
- Read Proverbs 8:22-23. What kind of pedigree does wisdom
possess? (It was the first of God's works! It existed
before God created the world.)
- What does that suggest about the importance of having
- Read Proverbs 8:24-29. What is being described here?
- What does the creation account have to do with
wisdom? (This reveals the clash of world views.
Either you believe that the earth and all the
creatures came about by chance and violence (natural
selection) or you believe that an intelligent God,
who has rules for everything, created us. Your choice
between these two dramatically opposing claims
impacts how you view the world.)
- Read Proverbs 8:30-31. Who helped God at creation?
(Wisdom! Think about this. You can have some measure of
God's wisdom - the kind of thinking that guided in the
creation of the universe!)
- Wisdom's Way
- Read Proverbs 9:1-6. This paints a picture of wisdom as
living in a big house, not being on a diet and having
domestic help. Why? (To live wisely is to live well. This
tells us that wisdom is a way of life. It is not just an
isolated decision, it is how we live a good life.)
- Read Proverbs 9:7-8. Notice that we now transition to some
very specific advice on how to apply wisdom. Who is a
mocker? (One who mocks God or mocks God's way.)
- Consider this a moment. Are we not called to
evangelize sinners? What is this telling us? (I think
we need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us discernment
on applying this. Rebuking or correcting someone who
wants to learn is one thing. Rebuking or correcting
one who is hostile is a fool's errand - he will only
hate you more. We should be smart, and not waste our
effort on those who are determined to oppose us.)
- Read Proverbs 9:9. Who is open to learning more wisdom?
(The wise and the righteous.)
- Consider our last few verses. What does this suggest about
how we should evangelize? (We need to focus on those who
want to come to God, who are curious to learn. I think
churches should focus on those who visit. If someone who
lives in the neighborhood visits, the church should have a
plan to capture that person's name and contact
information, and then follow-up. How about putting in
place a way to follow-up on those who visit the web site
of your church?)
- Acquiring Wisdom
- Read Proverbs 8:32-34. We decided earlier that God is the
source of all true wisdom, and we find His wisdom in the
Bible. What kind of effort should we put in to gain
wisdom? (It is a daily and focused effort.)
- Read Proverbs 8:35-36. We discussed how wisdom brings
material advantages. What is the ultimate payoff for
making the effort to acquire wisdom? (You enjoy God's
favor. You find life, and avoid harm and death.)
- Friend, would you like to improve your life? God's wisdom
is the key. Will you decide to make it a daily goal to
study your Bible to become more wise in God's ways? Why
not make that commitment right now?
- Next week: The Blessings of Righteousness.
* 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.