Word of the Week
April 31, 2021
I am writing from Big Sandy, Texas, where my wife and I are attending a family conference. At an early morning men’s session, I had the privilege of presenting a session on Proverbs 1-9, nine solid chapters of instruction from a father to a son. It’s in Hebrew, not Greek, but the same principles of Bible study hold true. So we will switch to the Old Testament, just for this week, for a condensed version of the material I shared at the conference.
Moving toward Manhood: A Dad’s Agenda
Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding.
Proverbs 3:13 CSB
When our first daughter was born, I realized that I had no idea how to be a parent. You can’t major in “fathering” at any university I know!
It’s the ultimate adventure in on-the-job training, but you eventually make it past dirty diapers and “terrible twos.” And just when you are tempted to think, “I can do this,” you’re blindsided by the realization that these youngsters are on the path to adult life. Now your son is a little boy in your home, but before you know it, he will be in charge of a home of his own!
Few parents have a confident grasp of how to guide that process. Fortunately, God has provided an “owner’s manual” to equip you for this challenging task.
Where do we start?
The first nine chapters of Proverbs allow you to eavesdrop as the wisest man in history teaches his son the lessons he needs to move toward manhood.
Colonel Sanders used 11 secret spices to make Kentucky Fried Chicken famous. And Solomon gives 12 ingredients that can provide the secret to success.
- Fear God (1:7; 9:7-12)
- Pay attention (1:8-9; 4:20-22; 6:20-23)
- Stand alone (1:10-19)
- Welcome correction (1:20-33)
- Pursue wisdom (ch 2; 3:13-26; 4:19)
- Balance truth and kindness (3:1-12, 27-35)
- Do right (4:10-19; 6:17-19)
- Guard your heart (4:23-27)
- Wait for marriage (ch. 5; 6:24-29)
- Avoid temptation (ch 7)
- Learn financial freedom (6:1-11)
- Fall in love with wisdom (ch 8-9)
There it is: an inspired agenda for a father to use in preparing his son for manhood.
One caution: Solomon himself had a son named Rehoboam who ignored much of this wise counsel when he followed his father as king of Israel. Why did he fail to heed his father’s advice? I believe it is largely because Solomon chose to disregard it in his own life. Our behavior outweighs our lectures every time, so a father’s first step is to start practicing this wisdom personally. Then he will be in a position to share effectively with his children.
Such a short list is limited, but I have prepared a 21-page set of notes that dig more deeply into Proverbs 1-9. It contains much more complete explanations of each point, along with suggestions for practical applications. If you would like to receive these notes, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive the free PDF by email next week.
Q & A
Q – What can you tell me about the Hebrew word for wisdom?
A – Yes, the Hebrew word for wisdom is chokhmah. I enjoy saying it because the guttural ch and kh sounds allow you to clear your throat. In the Old Testament, chokhmah is a versatile word that describes expertise in a variety of skills. Bezaleel and Aholiab, who supervised the construction of the tabernacle, had skill as master craftsmen in metalworking and woodworking (Exodus 31:3, 6). The women who wove goats’ hair into the tabernacle hangings had chokhmah. It could describe skill in politics, warfare, or personal relations. In the book of Proverbs, I like to define it as “skill in living.”
Next week we will return to the New Testament, rounding out this week’s topic by investigating the Greek word for wisdom. Is there a difference between Hebrew wisdom and Greek wisdom? We’ll try to figure it out.
©Ezra Project 2021