13 September 2016

Proverbs 12:10-22

“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice.” (v. 15)

Psalm: Psalm 4



How often have you looked at the book of Proverbs and how helpful have you found it? Since the book of Proverbs is a very particular type of literature, here are a few suggestions about how to approach reading this book today.

In her book, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, Ellen Davis writes, "The proverbs are spiritual guides for ordinary people, on an ordinary day, when water does not pour forth from rocks and angels do not come for lunch". If there are times this week when Proverbs does not feel very 'spiritual' and where the advice given seems a little obvious, you may find it helpful to reflect on the place of down to earth advice in a life of discipleship. Included in the word of God is advice for ordinary days - what does this tells us about how God values the ordinary?

Davis also reminds us that Proverbs were written at a time when Scripture was heard rather than read since most people were illiterate. They were meant to be pondered individually, not read as a list. Proverbs, then, perhaps more than any other book, invites us to read slowly and ask which verse particularly speaks to us. And then to ponder that verse throughout the day.

Our proverbs for today commend both patient hard work and careful speech. Neither are particularly exciting, perhaps they do not even seem that relevant to discipleship, but they are part of the stuff of life.

To Ponder

  • How do you respond to the idea of the word of God for ordinary days?
  • Is there a particular proverb from today's passage which you can take with you to ponder during the rest of the day? What is it? And why do you think it jumps out at you?

Bible notes author

The Revd Judith Rossall

Judith Rossall is a Methodist tutor at Queen's Foundation in Birmingham. Before moving to Queen's, she was a circuit minister and taught at STETS in Salisbury.