May Adult Bible Study Series (Spring-Summer quarter)

The Spearsville Road Church of Christ will begin studying the Book of Proverbs for our Spring-Summer quarter.  Please come and join us on Sundays at 10:00 am., and study this extraordinary book full of wisdom.

Here is an excerpt of our study guide: 

Proverbs

1. What Are the Proverbs?

OT Category: Wisdom Literature

The book of Proverbs is included in the “wisdom literature” or poetry of the OT, along with Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. These books present an array of lessons on everyday life: from worship to work, from speech to suffering, from family to foolishness.

“Truth, beauty, and goodness are summed up in the all-important term wisdom, and all forms of evil (personal or national) are pictured as folly or disobedience to divine law” (Herman O. Wilson, Studies in Proverbs, p. 8).

“The wisdom which is honored throughout the book of Proverbs is a prudential and practical wisdom. It is equated with such terms as understanding, knowledge, instruction, truth, good counsel, discretion, righteousness, and the fear of Jehovah. Thus the ethical and moral sense of the term is emphasized far more than the intellectual or rational idea of wisdom. To the Hebrews it meant a life directed by God’s unchanging will and in harmony with his own character …

Even from a “common sense” standpoint, there are lessons to be learned by observing life. Some choices inevitably lead to trouble, such as overindulgence in alcohol or committing adultery. There is an observable connection between the action and the outcome. Ultimately, however, the principles that come from God steer us in the direction of health and well-being. The world rarely learns the lessons of history and often gives the wrong advice. We must go to God for His instruction in how to speak, act, socialize, prosper, handle the things of this world and serve Him.

“God is the source of all true wisdom, and God is also the object. Thus to know the statues or laws of God, and to bring one’s life into harmony with his will, was considered not only perfect wisdom but the whole duty of man. Religion, knowledge, right conduct – all these and more were summed up in the general term wisdom and, therefore, bore upon all the day-to-day problems and relationships of men” (ibid, p 13).

The Structure of the Book

In short, there isn’t much structure in Proverbs. There are broad categories of authorship: Solomon (10:1; 25:1), Agur (30:1), Lemuel (31:1). Chapters 1-9 are in the form of personified wisdom pleading with men to seek it and implement wisdom in their lives. Otherwise, the proverbs are arranged rather randomly. This study will examine the proverbs primarily by topic.

The Form of a Proverb

The proverbs are often couplets, a pithy saying of two lines where the second usually repeats, reinforces or amplifies the first:

  • “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread” (20:13).
  • “Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord, And a false balance is not good” (20:23).

Sometimes the second line of the couplet states the opposite of the first line:

  • “The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head” (20:29).
  • “The poor man uses entreaties, But the rich answers roughly” (18:23).

Proverbs may also take the form of a short essay, such as the description of the man enticed into adultery (6:20-35) or a godly wife (31:10ff).

The General Use of Proverbs

The use of maxims, adages and/or proverbs is common to all cultures and times. They help express certain truths in a terse and easy-to-remember format:

Other examples in Israelite history (Look at the context and tell what they mean):

  • “Is Saul also among the prophets?” – 1 Sam 10:12.
  • “Wickedness proceeds from the wicked” – 1 Sam 24:13. (cf. Mt 7:17)
  • “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house” – 2 Sam 5:8.
  • “They shall surely ask counsel at Abel” – 2 Sam 20:18.
  • “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” – Ezk 18:2.

Jesus uses a parabolic form quite often:

  • “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine” – Mt 7:6.
  • “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” – Mk 2:27.
  • “Every city or house divided against itself will not stand” – Mt 12:25 (in use today).

Exercise: Can you think of three “modern proverbs”? List them and tell their meaning. Here’s a couple to get started:

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Meaning:

 

Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me. Meaning:

 

Your proverbs:

 

 

Overview of Proverbs: “Although its subject matter is far-reaching, this book is unified by one oft-repeated aim: to reprove the evil in men’s lives and to encourage each reader to seek wisdom, truth, and righteousness” (Wilson, p. 7).

“The overriding purpose of the book and the individual passages is to teach what is right and pleasing to God, to encourage the love of wisdom or true understanding, to warn against the sins of pride and the evils of carnality, and to contrast holiness and wickedness, wisdom and folly” (ibid, p 9).

 

 

Biblical Finances-The Christian and his money

 

Biblical Finances-The Christian and his money

1 Timothy 6:10

 

There is a Mexican proverb that says, “The dog with money is called Mr. Dog.”  There is another Mexican proverb that illustrates the power and possible evil influence of money, “When money talks, the truth becomes silent.”  A Russian proverb illustrates the power money has in friendships, “When you become tired of your friend, lend him money.”  And then there is the Scottish proverb said to illustrate the pitfalls of marrying someone for money, “Do not marry for money, a loan is much cheaper.”  King James version renders 1 Timothy 6:10 as “…the love of money is the root of all evil…”, while other translations render the texts as: “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil…”  Any reputable translation carries the same idea and that idea is simply that when a person’s heart and god is money then the person is full of evil.  This is true when we make money our god and give it first priority in our lives.  However, it is important to understand that money is not evil in and of itself but that man makes evil uses of it.  Our lives are full of stress.  Stress comes from every direction.  It is no secret that money issues is the fountain of most of our stress.  There are a few points I would like to share with you on the topic of Biblical finances.  These are the points that I will cover tonight:

  1. Money comes from God (James 1:17).
  2. The Lord, not money, is our shelter in the time of storm (Proverbs 23:4-5)- Do not place your trust in money.
  3. Our wants should not override our needs (Proverbs 21:17).
  4. Work!  Honest work!  (Proverbs 6:6ff).
  5. Budget God first and budget generously (Proverbs 3:9-10; 11:24-25).
  6. Budget a savings plan (21:20; 31:21 [virtuous woman]).
  7. Know the financial equation: Outcome should not be more than income, and know how much money you have (Proverbs 22:7; 27:23).

 

  1. Money comes from God (James 1:17).
    1. The reason that money is not evil in and of itself is because it comes from God.  It is like any other blessing, if used wrong it can be turned into something evil
    2. Romans 15:27.

 

  1. The Lord, not money, is our shelter in the time of storm (Proverbs 23:4-5)- Do not place your trust in money.
    1. “If I only had more money…”  Whenever we have problems money is rarely the answer.  Money should be considered a tool and not our hope in times of need.
    2. Our trust should be in God.  He will take care of our needs.
      1. “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it.  When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” (Proverbs 23:4-5)
      2. “He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.”  (Proverbs 11:28)
    3. Our wants should not override our needs (Proverbs 21:17).
      1. When we are blessed with extra money, then it is not wrong to enjoy it and purchase our toys.  The problem arises when we cannot afford to purchase our wants but buy them any way.
        1. “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man ; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.”  (Proverbs 21:17).
        2. There can be no other way around this.  If we cannot afford to buy our heart’s desire but we do so any way then we are headed to the poor house.  Usually we turn to credit to purchase our wants when we do not have the cash on hand.

III.Work!  Do some honest work!  (Proverbs 6:6ff; 21:25).

  1. One extreme leads to another:  God condemns being a work-a-holic (making work our god) and He also condemns the other extreme, laziness.
    1. The New Testament teaches that a man who will not work should not eat.  God uses nature to teach His creation the value and importance of working.  Look at the ant and see that it works hard so that when hard times do come it will not suffer.
    2. Proverbs 6:6ff, 21:25.
    3. God blesses us and promises to provide us with the essentials.  But this does not mean that we are to sit back, extend our arms and wait for God to fill our hands with money.

IV. Budget God first and budget generously (Proverbs 3:9-10; 11:24-25).

  1. Before we eat up our money with our personal purchases we need to consider God and the furthering of the Kingdom.
    1. Make it a habit and involve the entire family.  If we make it a habit to budget God first and teach our children to do the same then when times get tough we will not be too tempted to cut God back or completely out of our budgets.
    2. The priests in Malachi’s day were rebuked for giving God the left overs (Malachi).
    3. We cannot expect God to remember and bless us when we give him the left overs.   “Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce ; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.”  (Proverbs 3:9-10).
  2. Not only does God expect us to give Him the first fruits but He expects us to give liberally.
    1. Everyone knows that God loves a cheerful giver (I assume everyone likes a generous giver too).  The New Testament also teaches that God expects us to give liberally, without holding back.  (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
    2. In addition to giving of our means on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16), we are commanded to help the poor (Luke 3:11;).  God blesses the poor, sees to their needs through us.  God blesses us and we in turn are to bless others with that blessing.  i.e., electrical conduit.
    3. “There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.”  (Proverbs 11:24-25).
    4. Story of being asked for financial assistance but was not able to help because I did not budget for helping the needy.  (It is true, as some point out, that we already pay taxes and that should count towards fulfilling God’s commandment of relieving the poor.  However, deep down we know that this is generally given as a copout and excuse for not helping the needy).
    5. Budget a savings plan (Proverbs 21:20; 31:21 [virtuous woman]).
      1. Saving for a rainy day.  Every months seems to bring unexpected expenses.
        1. In order for us to be ready for emergencies we need to budget them.  We all know that one day we will have the furnace go out, a tire blow-out, a cracked engine-so if we know that one day that is going to happen we should start planning now for it.
        2. Set aside some money, a few dollars every pay-period and when the emergency does arise then we can pay for it.
  3. “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.”  (Proverbs 21:20).

VI. Know the financial equation: Outcome should not be more than income, and know how much money you have (Proverbs 22:7; 27:23).

  1. It is quite simple.  If we earn $2000.00/mo then we should not spend more than $2000.00/mo.
    1. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
    2. Proverbs 6:1-5.
  2. Everyone in the family should know what the household budget.  You should know where you are financially.  How much you owe.  How long will it take to get out of debt. etc.

 

The economic future in our country looks bleak.  There are some who say the economy is getting better (they are the ones who are probably taking our money ), then there are those who say that the economy is getting worse.  I know that my bank account is at the lowest it has ever been.  I know that my spending has had to be cut back.  I know what I am living.  Hence, I am sure I am not the only one feeling the economic pinch.  Whatever our economic situation might be we are still required to be responsible, share, save and work.  Let us keep in mind that we should always:

  1. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
  2. Worry about today and let tomorrow worry about itself (Matthew 5:34).
  3. Share what we have (Hebrews 13:16).
Enhanced by Zemanta