The Lessons of Proverbs

OT 3XH3 or OT 2XH2

This course is a study of the book of Proverbs, being cognizant of the lengthy time in which the collections were brought together within the changing milieu of ancient near eastern wisdom. Attention will be given to the structure of the book of Proverbs, the function of the Hebrew mašal, various genres included within the collections, and the way these functioned in their original life setting (Sitz im Leben). The course will examine how proverbs should be interpreted and applied in contemporary teaching, preaching, and life circumstances.


  • The student will come to know the content, literary structure, and development of the Book of Proverbs within the context of Ancient Near Eastern Wisdom.
  • The student will understand cultural context and rhetorical effect in using proverbs.
  • The student will learn how the Book of Proverbs assumes covenant values and applies its theology to life issues.


  • The student will be wise in knowing how to live according to covenant values.
  • The student will be an example in using proverbs constructively to understand circumstances.
  • The student will mature in “the ability to cope” (Alexander W. Kenworthy, 1974).


  • Students will interpret and apply the wisdom of proverbs in all daily life.
  • Students will “answer” and “not answer” fools according to their folly (Prov. 26:4–5).
  • Students will teach others to use proverbs in counselling.
  • Students will use proverbs to better understand their own culture.