Proverbs 13: Listen & Be Wise

Read the Bible in 2011Week 30: Thursday

He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 13:20

Thursday’s Bible reading is Proverbs 13. This chapter is in the third section of Proverbs: “The first book of Solomon.”1

As you read through these chapters of collected proverbs, a proverb may or may not be connected to the one that follows it, and a chapter probably won’t break easily into paragraphs. Look for themes you can trace through a chapter. I mentioned some in Proverbs 1: Wisdom & Children: relationship with the Lord, benefit of wisdom, results of foolishness, the snare of wicked companions, integrity, sexual purity, money, the tongue, scoffing, respect, anger and work.

Rather than seeing these chapters as a jumbled up basket of spools of thread. Think of each theme as a specific thread you are tracing through its weaving within the book of Proverbs.

The tongue is one theme of this chapter, as is money, work, the benefits of wisdom and the results of foolishness.

Obviously, the main theme of Proverbs is wisdom, but chapter 13 includes a variation on wisdom and its benefits—your attitude towards a wise person who is trying to teach you wisdom. This was already present in the first nine chapters as a father was speaking to his son, and wisdom was speaking to all. In chapter 13 wise counselors are included:

“A wise son accepts his father’s discipline,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”

“Through insolence comes nothing but strife,
But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.”

“The one who despises the word will be in debt to it,
But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn aside from the snares of death.”

“Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline,
But he who regards reproof will be honored.”
Proverbs 13:1, 10, 13–14, 18

Read this chapter and think about yourself. Do you seek out the counsel of those who are wise? For that matter, do you know how to measure wisdom and discern those who are wise? Proverbs can help you with discernment. Ask the Lord to bring wise people into your life and to help you discern and know those who are wise. Look for those who are godly and those who are humble and who speak God’s truth without retreat from it and with love for God and love for you. Talk with them—or read their books—and learn from them.

Consider those who are older than you are. While some only become more rigid with age or frozen in immaturity, the Bible teaches that those who are truly godly will grow in wisdom. You can benefit greatly from those who learned wisdom in their earlier years. Their experience of years of knowing the Lord, of knowing other people and going through the ups and downs of life can be of great value to you. Wise people point you to God and not to themselves. They can share the hard lessons they learned—their sins and God’s forgiveness and help. They can share their insights into people and relationships and difficult situations. They can offer encouragement and help you discern wise choices.

The verse I began this post with is one of my favorites in Proverbs. Walk with wise men and be wise.

UPDATE: I’ve corrected the first footnote reference, and I’ve also changed the section order from the second to the third. My apologies for the inaccuracies.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1A. F. Walls, “Proverbs,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., p. 550.
Spools of Thread, USDA: Public Domain.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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