Introduction: There are many reasons that the Internet is wonderful.
One is that it makes it easy to be in contact with many friends and
acquaintances. With greater contact, however, comes the serious
problem of the lack of civility. People feel free to say negative
things through the Internet that they would never, if they had any
refinement, say to your face. Most of us have a “filter” that we use
to refrain from saying the things we are thinking – things which
would be harmful to others. Have you met people who seem to be
lacking a filter? People who seem to thrive on fights and drama –
especially face-to-face? Most of us want to improve our “filter,” so
lets dive into our study of the Bible and obtain the wisdom to do

  1. Fights

    1. Read Proverbs 17:14. Have you ever seen pictures of a dam
      breaking? Does it look like a controlled process? (No!
      Things look (and are) out of control.)

      1. Why is starting a quarrel like that? (The extent of
        the problem and the damage caused are hard to

      2. Aside from the loss of the dam, what other problems
        arise from the failure of a dam? (People and property
        downstream are injured.)

        1. Is a quarrel like that? (Yes, other people get
          pulled into the quarrel. Sometimes people
          outside the original dispute are damaged by the

      3. What advice does the Bible give us about avoiding
        fights? (Drop the matter quickly.)

    2. Read Proverbs 18:19. Once you have gotten into a fight and
      caused offense, how hard is it to fix the damage you have
      done? (The offended one throws up great walls between the
      two of you. It will be very difficult to breach those
      walls. Thus, the best thing is to avoid creating offense
      in the first place.)

    3. Read Proverbs 17:19. Do you know someone who likes to
      quarrel? What does the Bible call that kind of attitude?

      1. When I first read the last half of this verse, I
        immediately thought this was a reference to people
        who are aloof. People who create barriers between
        themselves and others “invite” destruction. Do you
        think that is what is meant here?

      2. Why would anyone “love” a quarrel? (Aside from having
        a personality disorder, it would seem to be someone
        who loves debate. It would be similar to a strong
        man who likes to get in fights with others so he can
        show off his strength. The one who likes to quarrel
        thinks he is smart and cunning.)

        1. Would a person like that “invite” destruction?
          (Setting yourself up as the best makes you a
          target, a “high gate.”)

    4. Read Proverbs 17:1. How valuable is peace and quiet? How
      important is it to avoid fighting? (It is even better than
      having a party!)

      1. My understanding is that most marriages break up
        because of disputes over money. Does that suggest
        that most homes have both the “dry crust” and strife?
        (That, of course, would be bad. However, I think the
        Bible’s point is that leading a peaceful life, even
        if you don’t have a lot of things, is pleasant.)

    5. Read Proverbs 17:9. What is one way in which we can
      promote peace at work and at home? (We don’t need to point
      out every error those around us make. Quietly fixing the
      problem will make the person making the error like you all
      the more.)

      1. Read Proverbs 17:10. Is quietly fixing the problem
        inconsistent with the idea of a rebuke? (No. You can
        both rebuke the discerning, and quietly fix the

        1. What if you are dealing with a fool? (Since the
          fool will not easily learn, it seems to be a
          waste of time to quietly fix the problem for a

    6. Read Proverbs 17:13. We were just discussing someone who
      tries to fix problems. What about a person who tries to
      create problems? What kind of life should that person
      expect? (Evil will never leave his house.)

    7. Read Proverbs 17:17. What should we do when we find
      someone in trouble? (If we show love, if we try to help,
      then we are a “friend” and “brother.”)

    8. Read Proverbs 17:22. What preventative measures can we
      take against trouble? (Being cheerful makes those around
      you more cheerful. Being unhappy has a negative effect on
      you and those around you.)

    9. Read Proverbs 18:21. If you agree, explain why you think
      the tongue has the power of life and death?

      1. Notice the phrase “those who love it.” Love what? (I
        think it means “those who love the power of the

      2. What does it mean to “love” the power of the tongue?
        (We just reviewed a series of Proverbs which taught
        us to avoid getting into fights. If we “love” what
        the tongue can do, we are students of its power. That
        means we study these Proverbs, and use our tongues to
        avoid fights and creating offense. Instead, we use
        the tongue to create love and peace.)

  2. Deep Water

    1. Read Proverbs 18:4. When you think of “deep water” what
      comes to mind? (Danger. Mystery.)

      1. Read Proverbs 20:5 and Psalms 69:2. What do these
        texts suggest is the meaning of “deep water?”
        (Complex. Life-threatening.)

      2. How, then, are a person’s words like “deep waters?”
        (We are not always sure what they mean. Sometimes a
        person’s words are more complex than they seem.)

      3. What is positive about a bubbling brook? (It is not
        deep, not complex, but rather is refreshing.)

        1. What does this suggest about understanding the
          wisdom of the Proverbs? (The points being made
          are not that complex. People may be complex,
          but God’s instructions are not.)

    2. Read Proverbs 18:8. What else goes “deep?” (Gossip.)

      1. What does it mean that the “choice morsels” of a
        gossip go to the “inmost parts?” (Two things. You
        remember them. Whether you are the person hearing the
        gossip, or the person who is the victim of gossip,
        the damage lasts.)

    3. Read Proverbs 18:2 and Proverbs 18:6-7. Can you fix being
      foolish? (If it were not possible, I assume we would not
      have a warning about it. The fool’s first step should be
      to listen more in an attempt to understand, and to talk
      less. If you do that, you can avoid all sorts of trouble.)

  3. Clarity on Money

    1. Read Proverbs 18:9. How much of a problem is laziness?
      Should society tolerate laziness much less reward it? (If
      being lazy is similar to destroying property, then it
      should be penalized, not rewarded.)

      1. We have spoken before about being kind. What would be
        a kind approach to curing laziness?

    2. Read Proverbs 18:10-11. Is having money like living inside
      a walled city? (Yes. Money protects you from all sorts of

      1. Is money an unscalable wall? (No. The protection is

      2. What is an unscalable wall? (Trusting in God. He is a
        strong tower to which we can run and be safe.)

      3. Are the wealthy more likely to be Godly? Several of
        the Proverbs teach that wisdom brings money. But,
        this text is a warning. The rich falsely think their
        money will protect them, but only God is a sure
        protection. Don’t turn away from God by trusting in

    3. Read Proverbs 18:16. Is the Bible endorsing bribes?

      1. Is there a lesson on evangelism here? (Instead of
        telling your neighbor about how he needs to better
        obey God, you should first show him kindness. Helping
        someone out is a great way to be allowed into that
        person’s heart.)

    4. Read Proverbs 18:22. What other kind of wealth can we
      enjoy? (A good spouse!)

    5. Friend, since the tongue has so much power, why not
      determine today that you will become a student of its best

  4. Next week: Words of Wisdom.