Proverbs 19:27

Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
– Proverbs 19:27

The wording presents difficulties in this proverb and commentators take it variously. The word for understanding means discipline, or correction. Without any modifiers, the word is positive in Proverbs. It is the good discipline and correction of wisdom. So it is not the instruction that causes to go astray, but rather the refusal to hear and heed instruction that causes to go astray. It is akin to the admonition in Proverbs 14:7. The words of knowledge lay down a good way to go. One must hear the words of knowledge and walk in them (Proverbs 3:18; 4:4, 13; 15:24).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:20

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
– Proverbs 19:20

The fatherly addresses in the early part of Proverbs give repeated admonition to hear and receive wisdom (Proverbs 1:8; 2:1-9; 8:34-35). This proverb fits with general tenor of Proverbs that wisdom is accessible and offered to all (Proverbs 9:4-6). Though freely offered, wisdom is costly to acquire (Proverbs 2:3-5). Acquiring wisdom requires humbling oneself to hear counsel and receive instruction (Proverbs 2:1-2). The word for counsel means advice and the word for instruction means discipline. Both come to us from others and we must be willing to receive them. Ultimately, wisdom comes from God and he stores it up for the righteous (Proverbs 2:6-7). Being willing to receive counsel and instruction from others does not mean we merely take in all men’s opinions (Proverbs 14:15; 15:14). Acquiring wisdom is a lifelong pursuit and not a one-time event, but it does lead to blessedness (Proverbs 8:32-35).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 16:22

Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
– Proverbs 16:22

The word for understanding means prudence, or good sense. It appears several times in Proverbs and throughout the Old Testament. It was the word used to describe Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:3. We would say she had a good head on her shoulders. Practical wisdom is a life giving blessing (Proverbs 3:22; 14:30), as wellspring of life indicates (Proverbs 10:11; 13:14; 14:27; 18:4). The second phrase is a contrast to the life giving blessing of wisdom. The word for instruction means chastisement, or reproof. Such correction coming from fools is useless, worthless (Proverbs 15:2, 28). If we press the antithetical parallel further, rather than giving life, folly leads to destruction and death (Proverbs 5:23; 14:1).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 16:20

He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
– Proverbs 16:20

The word for matter means a word, or something spoken. Here it refers to instruction, and we may infer it is the instruction of wisdom. The first phrase speaks of receiving instruction wisely, or prudently. The second phrase promises the blessing of the Lord. If a man receives the instruction of wisdom well, he will be blessed of the Lord (Proverbs 13:15; 19:8; 24:3-5).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 15:33

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
– Proverbs 15:33

Proverbs begins with the root issue of acquiring wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). There is no wisdom without the fear of the Lord. Fools do not want the fear of the Lord and therefore do not acquire wisdom, though they try to get it other ways (Proverbs 17:16). The word for instruction means discipline, or training. So the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of the way of wisdom, but it is the whole course. Acquiring wisdom requires humility, and that is the only way to the honor wisdom brings (Proverbs 3:16). The contrast is pride that refuses reproofs and goes on to destruction (Proverbs 18:12; 29:23).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 15:32

He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
– Proverbs 15:32

The word for instruction means discipline and it is the tutelage of wisdom. To refuse it is to harm oneself (Proverbs 8:33-36). The word for heareth means to hear intelligently, or listen attentively. To hear reproof is to acquire and grow in wisdom (Proverbs 15:14; 18:15). It is a mark of the wise to receive reproof and grow in wisdom (Proverbs 9:9-10; 17:10; 19:25). It is not that the wise enjoy reproof or correction, but it has its intended effect and they rejoice in gained wisdom (Proverbs 21:11; Hebrews 12:11).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 15:5

A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
– Proverbs 15:5

Proverbs teaches wisdom is had by instruction and correction (Proverbs 1:2-4, 23). The prudent, or wise, will heed it (Proverbs 1:5; 9:9). The fool despiseth, or scorns, sound correction and instruction (Proverbs 10:1; 13:1). They will not hear wise counsel (Proverbs 1:7; 10:8; 12:15) and they mock sin (Proverbs 14:9). Referring to his father’s instruction shows his foolishness early on (Proverbs 22:15), which can lead to an irremediable scoffing fool (Proverbs 27:22). This proverb also reveals character by how we respond to correction and instruction.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 13:18

Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honored.
– Proverbs 13:18

This proverb is a truism of outcomes in life. The word for shame points to disgrace, or dishonor, and poverty is just that. This comes to one who refuses instruction, which is discipline including correction. Despising instruction is the proverbial characteristic of the fool (Proverbs 1:7). The contrast is to regard reproof. To regard is to keep or give heed. The word for reproof leans more to the correction. Such correction is an indispensable part of acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 15:5, 31-32; 9:9; 25:12).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 13:1

Chapter 13 continues the first section of the Proverbs of Solomon. The proverbs in this chapter mainly have a two-line antithetical structure. The proverbs in this chapter touch on words, or speech, wealth and poverty, pride, parenting, and wisdom generally.

A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
– Proverbs 13:1

Training in wisdom begins at home with one’s parents. The word for instruction means discipline and so includes correction. A wise son is characterized as one who receives instruction and correction, which sets him at odds with a fool (Proverbs 15:5). The contrast is with a scorner, which is the hardest form of a fool, or the final progression of the fool. A scorner despises correction and hates those who try to correct him (Proverbs 9:7-8; 15:12). The word for rebuke means a chiding and is stronger than in the first phrase. The tenor of the proverb is that a son who chafes at the discipline of his father at home is on his way to becoming a scorner. Scorners ultimately find themselves scorned by God at the last (Proverbs 3:34).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »