Studying Scriptures humbles me, especially when those Scriptures are the words of Christ. Or Proverbs. I am often humbled by the book of Proverbs. And April’s been a humbling month.
Each day I’ve taken time to read through a single chapter of the book of Proverbs in the ESV, highlighting verses that struck a chord with my soul. Some of these I sent into the Twittersphere. Some I considered throughout the day. My study has been cursory—an initial reading, a few re-readings thereafter, and some reflection when the book was closed. In May, I hope to go through the verses I highlighted, looking for themes. Eventually, I’d like to compare and contrast the words of Proverbs with those of Christ’s teachings in the Gospels, just to see how they align.
But for now I’m still reflecting on the wisdom text alone: its fullness, its goodness, and its practicality. I think back to my days in college when I took a class on Proverbs. I passed with an 'A', but I was no less of a fool. I read when needed, studied as required, probably did a paper or two, but I was merely a grade-seeker, not a true student or learner. My life choices and actions of the last ten years attest to that.
And yet as I look back on the time, I see echoes of Proverbs in other areas, in my value system and moral choices I made. I see God’s grace toward a child of folly; I see the whisper of the Holy Spirit restraining me from worse choices. I see inspiration for this writing or that ideal. I see that the Proverbs have long been a part of me, even if I failed to implement them to the degree I should have.
As I wrap up this month of studying the book again, I wonder if I will repeat my prior failure to apply them.
I would like to think not. Given a decade of living life—being wrong, missing the mark, losing struggles yet seeing victories—I’d like to assume I will apply the teachings with more fervor, that I would seek to better integrate them into daily habits and decisions. As with so many things, time alone will tell.
But regardless of my personal application of the text, of one thing I am assured: the wisdom of the ancients is truly awe-inspiring. The Lord has granted humanity a divine gift in our ability to know wisdom, and through the Scriptural canon, the most tried-and-true wisdom of the ages is available to anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see. God is a giving God, indeed.
And that perhaps may be the greatest strength of Proverbs. Those who read the text in a pursuit of holiness will see the goodness of God, and seeing that goodness will lead to praising the Lord Jesus Christ. That's a wise use of time, right there.
Got a study plan for May? Read a Proverb each day.
(By the way, today's read, Proverbs 28, was epic. I hope to memorize the whole chapter to the rhythm of a hot beat)