Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Proverbial Wisdom

Found some good material from R.C. Sproul on how to interpret the Book of Proverbs.
Every culture seems to have its own unique, collected wisdom, pithy insights of the wise. Oftentimes, these tidbits are preserved in the form of the proverb. We have proverbial sayings in American culture. I am thinking of sayings such as “A stitch in time saves nine” or “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

The Bible, of course, has an entire book of such pithy sayings—the book of Proverbs. However, this compilation of proverbial wisdom is different from all other such collections in that these sayings reflect not just human wisdom but divine wisdom, for these proverbs are inspired by God.

 We must be very careful in how we approach and implement these wise sayings. Because they are inspired does not mean that the biblical proverbs are like laws, imposing a universal obligation. Yet, some people treat them as if they were divine commandments. If we regard them in that way, we run into all kinds of trouble. Even divinely inspired proverbs do not necessarily apply to all life situations. Rather, they reflect insights that are generally true.
He goes on to give some examples on how to understand seemingly contradictory proverbs. I recommend reading the whole thing.