Introduction: This week I read a saying that goes something like
this: “A person with a difficult past gives good advice.” The
proverbs we have studied so far suggest that those who have been wise
in the past are the best source of wisdom. But, this saying
highlights an important point: the rebukes and challenges of life add
to our wisdom. Our study this week considers the issue of how we can
acquire more wisdom. Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and learn

  1. Secrets and Kings

    1. Read Proverbs 25:2. My first reaction to this text was
      that I’m glad God does not reveal all of my sins! But,
      read Mark 4:11. What does this suggest about what God
      conceals? (God reveals important matters to His followers,
      but conceals them from others.)

      1. Read Mark 4:12. I thought Jesus spoke in parables so
        that His lessons were easier to understand! How do
        you explain this?

    2. Look again at Proverbs 25:2. What is the glory of kings?
      (To search out a matter.)

      1. Let’s apply this to parables. Why would Jesus’
        followers understand His parables and the world would
        not? (Because they searched out the meaning of the

      2. What do you think is the point being made in Proverbs
        25:2? (God is so great and glorious that we cannot
        understand all of His ways. But, it is to our glory
        to try to “search out” the nature of God and His
        lessons for us.)

    3. Read Proverbs 25:3. Kings are a lot less complex than
      God. Why can we search out God but not kings? (God
      operates out of a consistent principle of love, while
      humans are driven by all sorts of conflicting emotions.)

    4. Read Proverbs 25:4-5. Does this also apply to you? Do you
      need to remove what is wicked from your presence? (If we
      want to live righteous lives, we need to remove that which
      is wicked.)

    5. Read Proverbs 25:6-7 and Luke 14:7-11. How many times are
      you faced with issues about where to sit when you eat?

      1. If not many, how would you apply this today? (I apply
        it to relationships at work and in other
        organizations, such as church.)

      2. Why would a person claim the first place at work or
        church? (Pride, most likely.)

        1. How does this work out for your pride? (You are
          humiliated if you are told to step down. On the
          other hand, if you are told to step up, that
          exalts you.)

    6. Read Proverbs 25:7 (last part) and Proverbs 25:8. What is
      meant by “court?” (I think it means before the person in

      1. What would be the application today? (It could mean a
        judicial court, but the more common application is
        when you bring a charge against someone else at work
        or church.)

      2. Why would you be risking shame? (You did not
        investigate thoroughly, you do not know all of the
        facts, and the neighbor will make you look foolish.)

      3. Consider a slightly different context. You suggest a
        new idea at work. You bring it forward quickly so
        that you can beat everyone else with the suggestion.
        Would this proverb apply? (Yes. This is a lesson I
        keep reminding myself. Carefully think things through
        before you submit a new idea or new plan.)

    7. Read Proverbs 26:27. What other common work tactic should
      we avoid? (Retribution. If someone harms us, we should not
      “dig a pit” for them. It will just end up harming us.)

  2. Words

    1. Read Proverbs 25:11. Is this good or is this useless? You
      cannot eat gold apples! (Close your eyes and imagine gold
      apples in silver bowls. It is beautiful, right? Your words
      can be beautiful like that – and lift the spirits of

    2. Read Proverbs 25:12. Do you like to be rebuked? Do you
      like to be corrected? (No one likes to be corrected.)

      1. Although we don’t like rebuke, what should we do? (If
        it comes from a wise person, we should listen to it.)

      2. Will paying attention to correction make us better-looking? (That is the point. A beautiful earring
        makes the ear more attractive. Paying attention to
        correction from those who are wise makes us a more
        beautiful person.)

    3. Read Proverbs 27:5-6. Will a true and wise friend always
      give you the advice you want to hear? (No. Your “enemy”
      always agrees with you. Rebukes are good for us if they
      come from wise friends.)

    4. Read Proverbs 26:23-26. Will your enemy give you
      encouraging words? (Yes.)

      1. What is the lesson to be learned from this? (We
        should not judge people by whether they agree with us
        or rebuke us. Some agreeable words are intended to
        harm us, while a wise rebuke is a blessing.)

    5. Read Proverbs 27:17. What is “iron” in a relationship?
      (Iron is tough. Thus difficult challenges, hard rebukes,
      make us better – if we are wise.)

    6. Read Proverbs 25:15. When you want to change the mind of
      someone else, how do you approach that task? Do you
      argue? Command? Raise your voice? What does this text
      suggest? (That gentleness and patience result in powerful
      results – bone breaking results!)

      1. Whose mind is being changed? (The mind of the ruler.
        This is significant, because the person being
        persuaded has authority over you.)

    7. Read Proverbs 25:20. What does this teach us about giving
      advice? (Whenever my wife would feel poorly, I would put a
      big grin on my face and say, “Think well!”)

      1. What do people who are feeling poorly want to hear?
        (Compassion. Singing (happy?) songs to someone who is
        sad or feeling bad is not helpful. It actually does

    8. Read Proverbs 25:24. When you look for a spouse, how
      important is it to really know that person? (This says a
      great deal about the power of the tongue. No one wants to
      live on the roof, much less the corner of the roof. Yet
      that is preferable to living with a quarrelsome spouse.)

    9. Read Proverbs 25:28. Why are walls around a city? (To
      protect it from invaders.)

      1. How does self-control protect you – as opposed to
        protecting others? (When you lack self-control, you
        open yourself up to all sorts of problems. Your
        protection is gone.)

  3. Dealing with Fools

    1. Read Proverbs 26:4-5. Those of you who say the Bible does
      not contradict itself, how do you explain this? (Clearly
      the writer of this proverb realized the apparent
      contradiction. Verse four tells us not to descend to the
      fool’s methods in a debate with a fool. Verse five
      suggests, on the other hand, that just leaving a fool
      without giving a response makes the fool think he is
      right. This seems to suggest a wise response should be
      given to fools.)

      1. Read Proverbs 23:9. Now, how should we respond to
        fools? Can you find a truth that is consistent with
        all of these verses? (Don’t privately debate a fool.
        Your answer is for those who are listening to the

    2. Read Proverbs 26:7 and Proverbs 26:9. Will everyone
      benefit from this study of Proverbs? (No.)

      1. What is the problem? (Proverbs are more than useless
        to fools, they can be dangerous.)

    3. Read Proverbs 26:10. Should you hire a fool? (No. You
      cannot predict what damage a fool will do.)

    4. Read Proverbs 26:12. Could there possibly be anything
      worse than being a fool? (Yes! Being wise in your own

      1. Why do fools have more hope? (The fool may realize
        his foolishness, but pride blinds you from seeing
        yourself in your true light.)

    5. Friend, if you are a diligent student of the Proverbs, and
      not a fool, you will enjoy a better life. Why not resolve,
      right now, to live by the counsel in Proverbs?

  4. Next week: Living By Faith.