Proverbial Knowledge

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, King of Israel:

For learning about wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight,

for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity;

to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young – 

let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire  skill,

to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.

Proverbs 1:1-6 NRSV

 

Grocery bags are cut to cover the new chemistry book. A pencil is sharpened. A turkey wrap joins some grapes and pretzels to fill up the gecko covered insulated lunch box. Such are the simple, ordinary things that mark the beginning of a new school year. Studying and acquiring knowledge happen in the larger context of a gracious life, and this context contains so much that isn’t often noticed or appreciated (until or unless something goes awry!).

The book of Proverbs is advice on this larger context, a pithy poetic essay on how to live a good life. Much of it is practical – be honest in your negotiations, find good friends, keep your word. Some of it is “advice to a child,” and some just general advice to no one in particular. The questions it answers: what does a life well lived look like? What is a wasted life? Will you choose the path of the wise or will you stray into foolishness?

It’s been some time since I reflected on the wisdom of Proverbs. With the yellow school buses soon on their way, it seems like a good to crack it open…I hope you join me.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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