The Book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters of proverbs and sayings of the wise. But what exactly is a Proverb? A proverb is defined as a “short pithy saying, usually in current use and providing advice.”
The Proverbs in the Bible deal with timeless subjects – wisdom, understanding, wealth, work and success. They can be applied as successfully today as when they were originally written.
This is evident in the successful lives of men and women who down through the ages have successfully mastered the principles outlined in the Proverbs.
Probably the most notable would be Benjamin Franklin whose autobiography reads like a modern version of a man obsessed with living and sharing Proverbs.
The following is a summary of twelve Proverbs Principles you will have to master to successfully incorporate the Proverbs into your life. Master these virtues and you master life.
1. Fear of the Lord– “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 9:10 Here is the starting place and the place you finish. You will have difficulty mastering the other habits without a healthy respect and reverence for the Creator of all things.
2. Wisdom – “wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom” Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom provides the ability to use the knowledge and understanding you have been given. It is one of the foundations to living a successful life.
3. Discipline – “those who disregard discipline, despise themselves”~ Proverbs 15:32 Discipline is the control developed through obeying a set of rules or guidelines. A successful life is a life under control.
4. Knowledge – “the discerning heart seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 15:14 Knowledge is a valuable stepping stone to understanding and wisdom. It is no accident that college graduates out-earn highschool graduates by almost double over the course of a lifetime. But there are many ways to obtain knowledge outside of a classroom.
5. Understanding – “the one who cherishes understanding will prosper” Proverbs 19:8 Knowledge becomes understanding when you begin to see the patterns and connections in the things you have learned. If knowledge is the “what” understanding is the “why.”
6. Fidelity – “the adulteress preys on your very life”~ Proverbs 6:26 It is no accident why nearly three chapters in Proverbs are devoted to warnings to avoid sexual immorality and build a strong marriage.
7. Hard Work – “All hard work brings a profit” – Proverbs 14:23 There is no “easy button” in Proverbs or in life. There are no short cuts and no “Four Hour Workweeks”.
8. Careful Speech – “gracious words promote instruction” Proverbs 16:21 It is not enough to have wisdom, understanding and knowledge – you must be able to express what you learn in an impactful way.
9. Good Health – “a merry heart does good like a medicine” Proverbs 17:22 Poor health will consume your attention and you will be unable to help others. How much did you accomplish during your last toothache?
10. Generosity – “the generous will themselves be blessed” – Proverbs 22:9 The successful life is a life of giving. Wealth is not to be stored up – but to be put in circulation.
11. Friendship – “a real friend sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24 The wise man is surrounded by friends and associates acting as teachers, mentors and guides.
12. Perseverance – “Keep to the paths of the righteous” Proverbs 2:20 Sadly this was the downfall of Solomon himself. With all his wisdom and knowledge he still left the path later in life. Any runner will tell you that a great start doesn’t make up for a DNF (did not finish)
Some of these principles may come naturally to you, others may require intense effort. But the rewards are tremendous including long life, safety, riches, honor, and peace.
Are you up for the challenge?