Part 1 - The Wisdom of Proverbs
At first glance, a look at the “Proverbs 31 woman” seems beyond us all, whether male or female. But the teachings of Proverbs are godly wisdom, passed down from fathers and mothers to their sons and daughters. What can each of us learn, even from ancient tasks and trades, that apply to and benefit our lives today?
What you will need: A Bible or your Bible app, a notebook, pen, and highlighter. The verses highlighted below are linked so that you can easily access them during your study time.
1. What is your prior knowledge of the “Proverbs 31 woman” (if any), and how has it developed, based on the teaching from the weekend message?
2. Compare and contrast these two passages: Proverbs 31:10-12 and Proverbs 20:6-7. What words characterize righteous men and women? What benefits do their actions bring about? If wisdom is a hallmark of their lives, how do we find this? Read 1 Corinthians 1:30.
3. Read Proverbs 31:13-15. Although these may be archaic “chores,” what timeless principles do they teach? What are your strengths and the strengths of those around you? How are you at planning, preparing, and rising early? Now, check your motivation: are you chasing worldly success, or working “as unto the Lord,” rising early to spend time with Him and working to bring honor to His name? To both men and women, employers and employees, or business partners: are you treating your partner as a capable equal?
4. Read Proverbs 31:16-18. How are you doing in these areas of your life? Where are you not seeing yourself as capable as you are? Where are you not living up to your potential? How are you working on your spiritual, mental, and physical strength? Now read Proverbs 31:20 and 31:8-9? Why is frugality and industriousness necessary for generosity?
5. It is crucial that we model Jesus to a hurting world. Read Proverbs 31:26. In what ways does this verse challenge you? In what ways are you succeeding? Who are you instructing? Is it difficult for you to give constructive criticism or deal with conflict in a gentle way? Are your words consistently kind? In what ways must you grow?
6. Action Steps: Where do you see strengths in others, but have not supported or celebrated them? Look for an opportunity to encourage someone this week. Also, when there is a need for constructive criticism, debrief, or instruction, consciously start with words of affirmation and praise for what was done right or with excellence! Finally, pray together with your spouse, partner, employee, or roommate!
7. Read 1 Kings 3:1-4. We see the “less than perfect” side of Solomon here. What do you notice? If you have scriptural reasons for your judgements, list them also.
8. Read 1 Kings 3:5-9. Read this exchange between God and Solomon. What surprises you? What does it tell you about God’s nature? What do you notice in Solomon’s preface to his “ask”? What about his choice of blessings from God?
9. Read 1 Kings 3:10-15. What is God’s response to humble prayer? How does this compare to James 1:5? Does this remind you of Luke 6:38, Malachi 3:10, and Matthew 6:33? Why or why not?
Note: One example of Solomon’s wisdom, common sense, and his great ability to rule the people fairly is found in 1 Kings 3:16-28. It has entered the general knowledge of the secular world and is sometimes called “the Judgment of Solomon.” It’s just a great story for you to know!