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!

  1. Wisdom’s Call

    1. Read Proverbs 8:1-3. To what is wisdom compared here? (At
      least two things: understanding and someone seeking

      1. 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

        1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

  2. Wisdom’s Message

    1. 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.)

      1. Does this allow for several versions of wisdom, some
        of which contradict each other?

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

  3. Wisdom’s Payoff

    1. Read Proverbs 8:10-11. Why do most people want silver,
      gold or rubies? (They represent security, dignity, and

      1. What does this teach us about wisdom? (That it brings
        these things (security, dignity and happiness)and

    2. 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.)

    3. 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.)

      1. Do you know a person who has wisdom: knowledge,
        discretion, and prudence? How is that person’s life
        turning out?

    4. 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?

      1. How else will wisdom benefit us? (Not only will we
        have security, dignity and happiness, but we will
        live longer! Wisdom has a reward.)

  4. The Source of Wisdom

    1. 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

      1. If you are attracted to some sins, then how can
        Solomon talk about “hat[ing] evil?”

      2. 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.)

      3. Notice that wisdom hates pride, arrogance, evil
        behavior and perverse speech. How common are pride
        and arrogance?

    2. 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.)

    3. 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.)

      1. What does that suggest about the importance of having

    4. Read Proverbs 8:24-29. What is being described here?
      (God’s Creation.)

      1. 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.)

    5. 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!)

  5. Wisdom’s Way

    1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    3. Read Proverbs 9:9. Who is open to learning more wisdom?
      (The wise and the righteous.)

    4. 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?)

  6. Acquiring Wisdom

    1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

    3. 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?

  7. Next week: The Blessings of Righteousness.