Today’s bible study is Proverbs 3:7-8: Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
We have been taught to shun evil since we were small children, both at home and at church, but what is this verse really saying to us? It’s not an easy verse to understand and must be read in context to make any sense. It’s hard to see how behaving well could save us from being hungry. We need to remember that a proverb is a kernel of wisdom, and it is for us to see what lies within that kernel that is of meaning to us. We may need a little expert interpretation to find what lies within this confusing, yet meaningful, proverb.
This is one of the proverbs of Solomon. For the Israelites, wisdom not only promoted a life of discipline and prudence, but it also enabled persons to unravel clever and mysterious sayings. Wise men studied the writings of the Old Testament and tried to follow the laws laid down for them in Leviticus. They prayed regularly, meeting together with other faithful followers. They were constantly reading and learning, ever seeking to better their understanding of laws and history. The heart of Israelite wisdom asserts that no one can begin to understand God’s ways and life’s mysteries.. All human attempts at wisdom will ultimately fail.
The proverb we are considering today is the third of Solomon’s discourses. In it he says that wisdom is more than a matter of knowing rules of right and wrong; it is a matter of knowing God. Those who are wise trust in the Lord, rather in their own wisdom. They fear and honor Him and accept His discipline. The Lord, not just their awareness of certain principles, protects them. Much like theirs, our wisdom is inadequate. We cannot pretend to understand the wondrous ways of God and creation. Omniscience is not within the human sphere of existence; it is the province only of God. This is the wisdom that we seek and this protection that will nourish and sustain us. May we, like the Israelites, trust in the wisdom of God rather than our own wisdom and know that, in all things, He will protect His own.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor. You might also like to read:
- Broad Brook Bible Study Examiner, Grace Dooley
- Atlanta Christian Living Examiner, Taylor Powell
- Atlanta Bible Study Examiner, Donna Sundblad
- Kentucky Bible Study Examiner, Timothy Edwards
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series