Introduction: Do you know someone whose life is out of control? To
be truthful, does your life seem to be on the edge of losing control
sometimes? We could all use a little help. Normally, we pray that God
will help us with our problems. But, did you ever consider that God
has already helped us? In Proverbs God gives us His advice for living
a better life. What do you think about people who are too lazy to
read instructions, and instead call to be told what to do? Let’s
plunge into our study of God’s instructions for living a better life!

  1. Children and Parents

    1. Read Proverbs 10:1. Why would Solomon mention the mother
      with the foolish son and the father with the wise son?
      (The father is proud of his successful son. The mother is
      the one who especially suffers when her child makes bad

    2. Read Proverbs 10:2-6. We have a series of sayings about
      the connection between money and righteousness. What
      virtues do we find associated with having wealth? (A
      connection with God, diligence, and working while the
      opportunity presents itself.)

      1. Which one seems the most important, if you just look
        at context? (“Righteous,” the religious aspect of
        things, is mentioned more often than the other

    3. Look at Proverbs 10:2-6 again. What defects in character
      are associated with poverty? (Theft, covetousness,
      laziness, sleeping when you should be working and

      1. Which seems the most important defect in character,
        if you just look at context? (It mentions being
        “wicked” twice, but it mentions a form of laziness
        twice and illegal behavior twice. Even when being
        wicked is mentioned, it is generally defined as some
        specific failure in the person’s actions. Thus, it
        seems that the most important factors leading to
        poverty are specific actions (or lack of action).)

    4. What does this teach us as parents? If we (fathers) want
      to be proud of our children and we (mothers) want to avoid
      grieving over our children, what should we teach them? (We
      need to teach them about the love of God, and we need to
      teach them to be diligent.)

  2. Chattering Fools

    1. Read Proverbs 10:8-10. Has anyone ever said that you talk
      too much? Did they say it because they wanted you to be
      silent so they could talk more?

      1. Our texts refer to “chattering fools” twice. What is
        the problem with talking in these verses? (In verse 8
        the problem is the fool is talking when he should be
        listening to instruction. In verse 10, the fool is
        talking when he should be paying closer attention to
        the person who is signaling that he intends to cause

    2. Let’s slip down to Proverbs 10:19. Is doing a lot of
      talking a problem in itself? Why would the Bible suggest
      that many words indicate a problem with character? (If you
      always want to be the center of attention, it demonstrates
      a character flaw – vanity.)

    3. Read Proverbs 10:11-14. We have several statements about
      the use of our mouths, both good and bad. Why is the mouth
      of the righteous “a fountain of life?” (Have you ever been
      blessed by the words of someone else? If you have, you
      understand how words can give life.)

      1. Do words only give life to the listener? (Notice that
        speaking loving words “covers” wrong actions. This
        tells us that those who speak uplifting words also
        benefit from those words.)

      2. What happens to the “chattering fool” who speaks
        wicked things? (They suffer violence and ruin, they
        create dissensions and they are punished for it.)

    4. Read Proverbs 10:21. Are good words like food? (They must
      be. The idea is that positive words, positive advice, lead
      to a better life for those who listen. This is similar to
      the prior statement that the right words are a “fountain
      of life.” “Fools” do not listen, and they die because of

    5. Read Proverbs 11:12. What about making fun of our
      neighbor, or bullying him? (You don’t do that if you are a
      person who has good judgment and understanding.)

    6. Read Proverbs 11:22. Beauty is a great advantage in life.
      What can spoil beauty? (A lack of discretion in your
      words. It destroys your beauty because the “pig” part of
      you is what others mostly see.)

  3. Integrity

    1. Read Proverbs 11:1-4. Notice that of the four statements,
      three have to do with integrity. Is Proverbs 11:2 out of
      place? Or, does it also have something to do with
      integrity? (Pride is generally a false way of looking at
      yourself. If everyone knew everything about you, perhaps
      you would be less proud and more humble.)

    2. Read Proverbs 11:6-7. What are the two problems with ill-gotten wealth? (Your evil desires end up trapping you.
      Worse, death ends all hope and pleasure for the wicked.
      For the wicked, things did not end up as they planned.)

    3. Read Proverbs 11:13. Does this mean that secrets are good?
      That people of integrity keep secrets? (Apparently, there
      are situations in which keeping something confidential is
      the right thing to do.)

    4. Read Proverbs 11:16-17. What other kind of integrity can
      we show with our words? (Being kind to others in what we
      say. Being kind results in blessings coming our way. Our
      kindness is returned with increased respect. On the other
      hand, being cruel and ruthless brings trouble and only
      temporary, if any, wealth.)

    5. Read Proverbs 12:20-22. Do you know people who lie to
      create trouble? What is the result of this kind of

      1. What should you do in the face of this kind of evil
        behavior? (We should promote peace.)

  4. Generosity

    1. Read Proverbs 11:24-25. The world’s view of giving is that
      when you have given something away, you have lost it. What
      does the Bible say about us being generous with our time
      and money? (That we have even more!)

      1. Have you ever tried this? (Recently, I had an unusual
        situation arise and my wife and I gave money to help.
        Shortly thereafter, I received money in about the
        same amount I had given. I recall thinking, “I should
        keep this up, give this new money away, and see how
        far this goes.” But, I fear selfishness got in the

    2. Read Proverbs 11:27. Have you ever heard someone say, “No
      one is friendly at that church?” “Everyone is mean to
      me?” What is the source of the problem, according to this
      verse? (If you are friendly, people will be friendly to
      you. If you are searching for unfriendliness, you will
      find that. I practice this (being friendly)all the time
      when I’m traveling, and I find that it blesses me in
      practical ways.)

    3. Read Proverbs 11:31. Where will the righteous find their
      reward? (We look to heaven, but this teaches that the
      righteous have a reward here.)

      1. Will the ungodly and the sinner get what they
        deserve? (Yes. They get it during this life.)

    4. Read Proverbs 12:23. Does this mean that we should be
      stingy with our knowledge? If we can help others, why
      would it be prudent to withhold our knowledge?

      1. Read Proverbs 12:15-16 and Proverbs 13:3. Do these
        verses cast light on the idea of keeping knowledge to
        our self? (I don’t think God suggests that we refrain
        from helping others with our knowledge. He recommends
        generosity in other contexts. I think the counsel is
        against bragging about what we know rather than
        listening. It is counsel against speaking before
        thinking. Sometimes what we know will harm others.)

    5. Friend, did you notice how much of the advice for better
      living that we studied this week has to do with what we
      say? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to bring this advice in
      Proverbs to your mind at the right time?

  5. Next week: What You See Is Not What You Get.