Introduction: Computers interested me from the time they were
available to the public. I recall purchasing a Timex Sinclair which
had 2K of memory. After I bought it, I decided that its best use was
as a door stop. (It had sort of a wedge shape.) Early on, I had a
hard time getting the “vision” of what computers could do to make
life better. Bible-based wisdom is like that. We don’t realize how
much following God’s way improves our life. This week our study of
Proverbs helps us to better understand what it means to live a good
life in accord with God’s will. Let’s jump into our study!

  1. How to Judge Ideas

    1. Read Proverbs 14:1. What does this say about being wise?
      (Wise people build things.)

      1. What do foolish people do? (They tear things down.)

      2. Is this a general principle of life? If you are not
        sure whether an idea is Biblically wise or foolish,
        would it be helpful to ask whether it builds or tears
        apart? (I think this is true.)

      3. My daughter and I were just discussing atheists and
        why they evangelize for non-belief by tearing apart
        religion. My daughter asked, “If you accept their
        views, and they are right, how is that a benefit?”
        On the other hand, if you accept Christianity, what
        is the benefit if we are right?

    2. Read Proverbs 14:2. What is the difference in attitude
      between the upright and the devious? (One fears God and
      the other despises God.)

      1. Is this another general principle of life? (I think
        so. You can judge a person and his ideas by checking
        his attitude toward God.)

    3. Read Proverbs 14:3. Is the Bible against free speech? (No.
      This points to the practical result of being wise versus
      being a fool.)

      1. Is this another general principle of life? If you
        want to determine whether a person is giving you good
        advice, should you look at how that person’s life is
        working out? (Yes! You don’t need to know a lot about
        the substance of the advice to get a good grasp on
        whether it is good. Just look at how it works for the
        person giving the advice! We now have three rules for
        judging advice: a)does it build up; b)does the person
        trust God; and, c)is life working out well for person
        giving the advice?)

    4. Read Proverbs 14:6-7. When the Proverbs say “stay away”
      from a foolish man, does it mean to avoid associating with
      a foolish person? (At a minimum it means don’t take advice
      from a foolish person.)

      1. When verse 6 says knowledge comes easily to the
        “discerning,” what is being discerned? What
        distinctions can the wise see that others cannot?
        (For one, paying attention to whether the advice
        comes from a foolish person or not.)

    5. Read Proverbs 14:8. Have you heard someone say, “Pay no
      attention to the past because there is nothing you can do
      about it?” Is that true? (Only in part. You can learn from
      the past. A prudent and discerning person gives thought to
      how he has lived, and this gives him direction for the

    6. Read Proverbs 14:11. Why is it the wicked have a “house”
      while the upright have only a “tent?” Is it not supposed
      to be just the opposite? (The point is that the upright
      might not start out with much. But, God blesses and builds
      on what they have if they are wise. This shows that the
      Biblically wise person builds on what he has.)

  2. Wisdom and Wealth

    1. Read Proverbs 14:20-21. Do you dislike “needy” people?
      What do these two verses say about your attitude towards
      the rich and the needy? (The natural heart likes the rich
      because you might get something from them – perhaps even
      getting to use their stuff. But, the poor threaten your
      stuff. They might want something.)

      1. What attitude does Proverbs say we should have about
        this? (We will be blessed by being kind to those who
        are needy.)

    2. Read Proverbs 14:31. What is the reason for receiving a
      blessing when we help the needy? (God identifies with them
      because He is their Maker.)

    3. Read Proverbs 14:23-24 and Proverbs 14:26. Having wealth
      is a sign that you are (or have been) wise. Not having
      wealth suggests that you have been a foolish person who
      does more talking than doing. How do you reconcile this
      with the instruction that we should be kind to the needy?

      1. The “cure” for being needy, according to our study,
        is to fear God, stop being foolish and talking too
        much, and to start working. What should we do if we
        are to follow the instructions to be kind to the

      2. This week I was sitting at a stop light in my shiny
        new car. I had the top down, and was grateful for
        God’s kindness to me. A middle-age beggar was sitting
        by the side of the road, with a little sign which I
        assume was asking for money. I decided that I would
        give him money – just because of the enormous
        contrast in our situations. But, I never did because
        he never stood up. What do you think? Was I right to
        decide that if he was not working, and was unwilling
        to even make the effort to stand up, I would not

        1. Read Proverbs 15:3. What important factor does
          this add to my question about the beggar? (Not
          only is God making a judgment about me, but God
          is also aware of the beggar’s situation.)

        2. Read Proverbs 15:19. Who puts the thorns in the
          path of the sluggard (the lazy)? (God’s laws
          for life. It seems to me that we should not
          remove the “thorns” that result from being
          lazy, but we should be kind to the needy in a
          way consistent with the Proverbs – teaching
          them a better way of life.)

        3. How would you apply this to my situation with
          the beggar at the stop light? (The best thing
          we can do for beggars is to get to know them.
          That will help us to apply Biblical principles
          to their lives. If I just hand a beggar some
          money, I cannot be sure whether I’m harming or
          helping him.)

    4. Read Proverbs 15:6 and Proverbs 15:16-17. Why is wealth
      not always a good thing? (You need to be able to handle
      it. Perhaps, if we trust God, He gives us the amount of
      money we can handle. If wealth brings turmoil and hatred,
      then it is better not to have wealth.)

  3. Tongue

    1. Read Proverbs 15:1-2. Have you developed the habit of
      carefully considering your words when you are having a
      difficult conversation?

      1. How can the way we choose our words make a difference
        in the outcome of the situation? (Being gentle turns
        down the temperature of the anger. Being harsh, makes
        things worse.)

    2. Read Proverbs 15:4. Can our words affect the health of
      others? (Yes. We can improve or harm a person’s health by
      the way we speak to them.)

    3. Read Proverbs 15:7. What other positive thing can your
      words bring? (Knowledge to others!)

    4. Read Proverbs 15:18. What does this have to do with the
      tongue? (This is related to our prior discussion about
      taking a moment to carefully consider your words. A “hot-tempered” man gets mad and blurts out words he will later
      regret. A patient man takes the time to carefully select
      his words.)

    5. Read Proverbs 15:22. If we are wise, why would we need the
      advice of others? (This probably has a great deal to do
      with pride. You think you are right and you are determined
      to push ahead. The Bible says that obtaining the views of
      other wise people will help your plans in life to

    6. Read Proverbs 16:7. How does this work: you please God and
      He grabs your enemies by the scruff of the neck and makes
      them behave? (I don’t think this is referring to divine
      intervention, although that is possible. Rather, I think
      God has already “intervened” by giving us these proverbs.
      If we follow them, especially those about the tongue, we
      will live at peace with our enemies.)

    7. Read John 15:18-19. How can we reconcile this with living
      at peace with our enemies? (The world will not like our
      ideas because they stand as a rebuke to their way of life.
      But, on a personal level, if we follow the advice of
      Proverbs we will live in peace with our enemies.)

    8. Friend, would you like less conflict in your life? Would
      you like to live a more enjoyable life? Wisely select the
      advice you will follow, and then follow it. Why not decide
      to make a change right now?

  4. Next Week: Dealing With Fights.