Leslie S. Rainey

Keyword - Wisdom; Key Verse-1:7.

The three Old Testament Books, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, constitute the “wisdom literature” of the ancient Hebrew people. The word proverb means, “in the place of words,” i.e. one for many. In other words, a short, pithy saying like, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” In this Book of clear sentences there is found the finest collection of proverbs in the world.


For the evidence of authorship we turn to the Book itself, where are named, as responsible for the various collections: Solomon (1:1, xxv:1). The Wise (xxii:17), Men of Hezekiah (xxv:1), Agur (xxx:1), and King Lemuel (xxxi:1).


In the Old Testament Jeremiah makes a distinction between priests, prophets, and a class of men called “the wise,” who are known as preachers of practical religion (Jer. 18:18, 8:8). The collection of Proverbs extends over a long period of time, 300 years (1000-700 B.C.).


The best method of study is the topical. Here you have such themes as Wisdom, Sin, Wealth, The Tongue, Humility, Justice, Friendship, Poverty, Idleness, Love, Marriage, Gluttony, and Success commending the virtues of wisdom and the vices of folly. Again there are pictures of fools, talebearers, generous men and foolish women, unsocial men, and boasters, as well as problems and trying experiences which are universal.


It teaches the application of that wisdom which created all things to the details of life in a world of evil and confusion. It is the Book of “sanctified common sense,” and a practical guide to life and conduct. The key of the Book is (1:7 or 9:10), language that should be engraven on all hearts and emblazoned over the entrance of every school and college in the land. The Book teaches the fear of the Lord, warns against impurity, bad companions, evil doings, denounces indolence and carelessness and commends virtue and liberality, etc.


1. The practical Purpose of Proverbs (1:1-6).

2. The Proverbs of Solomon (1:7- 9:18).

3. The Proverbs of Solomon (10:1- 22:16).

4. The Proverbs of the Wise (22:17-24:34).

5. The Proverbs of Solomon selected by men of Hezekiah (25-29).

6. Proverbs of Agur (30).

7. Proverbs of King Lemuel (31).