Introduction: Do you want to know the truth? Sometimes fooling
ourselves seems more pleasant, but generally we want the truth. The
Bible tells us that we can be fooled by what others say. But, if we
learn to view the situation through the eyes of wisdom, we would be
able to see the truth. Let’s dive into our study of Bible-based
wisdom and learn more!

  1. Fine Dining

    1. Read Proverbs 23:1-3. With whom are we eating in these
      verses? (A ruler. Someone in charge.)

      1. Is this a normal dining companion? (No.)

      2. What does this suggest is most important, eating the
        food or making a good impression on the ruler? (The
        goal is to favorably impress the ruler, not eat as
        much as you can.)

      3. Why is the food “deceptive?” (The meal is not about
        eating, don’t focus on the food.)

    2. Read Proverbs 23:6-7. I fear that I am stingy, but not as
      stingy as some others (well, maybe just one person)I know.
      Years ago, a couple eating out with us would check the
      amount of the tip I left for the waiter (I would add an
      amount to what the couple had left for a tip), and if I
      left “too much,” would announce it was too much and take
      back part of the tip! How would you know that the person
      at whose home you are eating is stingy? (When in doubt,
      assume your host is stingy.)

      1. What is the problem here? (You cannot believe what
        the host says. He is concerned about you eating all
        of his food. He is thinking about how much this is
        costing him.)

    3. Read Proverbs 23:8. How have we wasted our compliments on
      a stingy person? (You might be saying good things about
      your host, but all your host is thinking about is how much
      all of this is costing him!)

      1. What does it mean that you will “vomit up the little
        you have eaten?” (You are thinking that the food is
        benefitting you. But, it turns out that your host is
        thinking about how much he should not be spending on
        your meal – so the ill-feeling he has towards you
        negates the good of the food you ate.)

    4. Read Proverbs 24:3-4. We have just had two examples of a
      situation in which a person is too much focused on food.
      What does this have to do with house-building? (Wisdom
      causes you to think about things in their true light. When
      you understand the truth, you build the “house” of your
      life and you fill it with treasures.)

      1. Consider the first example: the person is too
        interested in eating and not paying attention to the
        circumstances of the meal. What would build this
        person’s house? (Looking beyond the food to your
        relationship with the ruler gives you wisdom about
        how to act.)

      2. Consider the second example from the host’s point of
        view: he is too focused on how much the food is
        costing. What is the cure for that? (The host needs
        to recognize his selfishness. He should be glad to
        give good gifts to his friends. If the host will not
        be cured, you should help pay for the meal.)

    5. Read Proverbs 23:12. How would we apply our heart to
      wisdom? (By studying these proverbs. If you see yourself
      in these examples (as I saw myself in the proverb about
      the stingy man), then you need to learn the lesson. The
      stingy man is selfish. If you recognize the true nature of
      the sin and turn away from it, you will build your house!)

  2. Fat and Drunk

    1. Read Proverbs 23:19-21. We just got through discussing
      fine dining. But, those lessons are not really about
      eating. Are these verses about eating or not? (They are
      about keeping our goals straight.)

      1. What is the problem with eating or drinking
        excessively? (It slows you down. It makes you sleepy.
        It creates the same problem as sleeping too much.)

      2. No doubt overweight people reading this will say,
        “Wait a minute! I’m a fast-mover. I’m just fine at
        doing my work.” Others will say, “I know fat people
        (or drinkers) who are very successful. How would you
        explain this apparent conflict? (This is like the
        many texts we studied about how being righteous makes
        you wealthy. These are general principles. I’ll bet
        that everyone who has lost some “extra” weight will
        agree that they feel more vigorous after losing the

    2. Read Proverbs 23:29-30. What does “lingering” over wine do
      for you? (It gives you bloodshot eyes and a headache in
      the morning. You find that you have bumped into things and
      not even realized it. It creates sorrow and strife.)

    3. Read Proverbs 23:33-35. What specific problem is the Bible
      addressing here? (Strange sights, confused mind, getting
      hurt but not realizing it, waking up with a hangover and
      wanting “another drink” are signs of being an alcoholic or
      a binge drinker. This is evidence your life is not on
      track to meet your goals.)

  3. The Merits of Wisdom

    1. Read Proverbs 23:22-23. What does it mean to “buy” wisdom
      and not “sell” it? I am giving away (actually sharing)
      wisdom in these lessons! Is that a problem? (The text says
      be a sponge when it comes to wisdom. Always try to acquire
      more. Never lose sight of the wisdom you have acquired.
      Writing these studies is teaching me more wisdom!)

      1. From what source can obtain wisdom? (Godly parents.)

    2. Read Proverbs 22:17-18. What other means do we have for
      obtaining wisdom? (Find a wise person and pay attention to
      what that person says. Apply the teachings to your life
      and make them a part of your thinking.)

    3. Read Proverbs 24:1. What should we not do when looking for
      wisdom? (We should not pay attention to wicked people.)

      1. Why would we even consider looking to the wicked for
        wisdom? (Because we envy what they own or how they

    4. Read Proverbs 24:21-22. What other source of information
      should we avoid? (The words of rebels. Rebelling against
      authority is a serious problem. Having an attitude of
      rebellion is harmful to your well-being.)

      1. Who are the “two” who will bring “sudden destruction”
        to the rebellious? (The king and God! I want to be on
        God’s side!)

    5. Read Proverbs 24:5. What does wisdom give you? (Power and

      1. This seems contrary to our normal view. We don’t
        normally say that thinking gives you muscles. (True
        power comes from wisdom and learning.)

      2. When I was in school, my classmates were focused on
        athletics rather than studying. No one grew up to be
        a professional athlete, but several obtained advanced
        knowledge in the form of doctorates. How do we
        balance athletics and scholarship?

    6. Read Proverbs 24:10. What kind of strength are we talking
      about here? (The wisdom that comes from God. When we face
      trouble, we should not look to our own puny strength, but
      we need to turn to God for His strength.)

      1. What, exactly, are you looking for God to do when you
        face trouble? (Often we are looking for direction. We
        want to know what to do. In many cases, God has
        already told us what to do in Proverbs.)

    7. Read Proverbs 24:17-18. I love to gloat when God defeats
      my enemies! What is the problem with that? (God defeated
      my enemies, so why am I gloating? This is not the attitude
      we should have.)

    8. Read Proverbs 24:11-12. What is the attitude that we
      should have towards those who are on the wrong track? (We
      should try to rescue them.)

      1. What does the phrase “being led away to death” add to
        our understanding of the rescue effort? (It means
        that wicked people are leading those on the wrong
        track. We may face opposition from the wicked.)

      2. This is a favorite text of those who actively oppose
        abortion. What excuse is invalid? (Claiming ignorance
        – when we should have known.)

    9. Friend, the truth is that we need to be more alert. We
      need to be alert when it comes to eating and drinking, and
      alert to our circumstances. Gaining wisdom helps us to
      know the truth. Will you determine today to seek the truth
      through the effort to gain more wisdom?

  4. Next week: Behind the Mask.