READ: Proverbs 1-2
THINK: Are you a wise guy-or girl, as it were? What does it mean to be wise? Is it just a matter of knowing a lot of stuff? People often confuse knowledge with wisdom. While both are important, one doesn't necessarily lead to the other. For instance, you may know the statistics of seat belt use. You may understand that wearing a seat belt will reduce your chances of suffering serious injuries in an automobile accident. But you exercise wisdom in choosing to wear your seat belt. The same principle applies in our spiritual lives. You can learn about the Bible. But when you honor God, obey His instructions, and follow Jesus' example, you demonstrate true wisdom.
RESPOND: What is a Biblical proverb, what purpose does it serve, and how can it benefit you (1:1-7)? (See 1:1 first note.) What's the difference between knowledge and wisdom? (See 1:2 note.) How is it possible to have a lot of knowledge but very little wisdom? How are wisdom and discipline related (1:2-3)? What does it mean that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge"? (See 1:7 note.) Why is it typically smart to listen to parental instruction and advice (1:8)? In what ways do people entice you to sin? (See 1:10 note.) In these situations, what must you keep in mind and how should you respond? (See 1:10 note.) What eventually happens to those who gain wealth and influence by ungodly means (1:19)? How can you "store up" God's commands, and what will this do for you? (See 2:1 note.) In what ways can you pursue and "search for" wisdom (2:1-4), and what must you do when you find it? (See 2:3 note.) Where does wisdom come from (2:6)? In what ways can wisdom protect and even save you (cf. 2:11- 12,16)? What are some of the primary benefits of gaining wisdom? (See 2:20 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to give you His wisdom and insight as you study His Word. Pray for the discipline and discernment to apply His teaching and make wise decisions.
ACT: Use wisdom in all you do, relying on God for guidance and using good judgment to make the best decision in each situation. Apply the knowledge God has already given you in areas where you've tended to do your own thing.
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