Poets Feature Sampler - Page 13

Experience Immerse by
reading the words of wisdom of
the book of Proverbs. Begin to explore
what it means to align your thoughts and
decisions with God’s ways. Discover a
way of wisdom rooted in deep respect
for our Creator and use it to chart
a path toward the good life
God wants for you.
T H E C R E AT O R I N T E N D S for us to flourish in our life on this earth. There
is a way of wisdom, rooted in deep respect and reverence for God
himself, that leads us to this good life. One particular literary tradition
in Israel was centered on exploring and teaching this path. Today we
find it reflected in the Bible’s wisdom books.
The first example of this tradition is found in the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs does not take the form of a narrative, but its wisdom teachings are an integral part of the story of the Bible. In this book, the ancient Israelites collected wise sayings (or proverbs) to help them follow
the right course in life. These proverbs are not absolute promises about
what will happen in all situations. Rather, they are short, memorable
sayings that offer practical advice for good living.
It’s a universal phenomenon for cultures to produce maxims that express their perspectives on how life is to be lived wisely. For example:
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”; “measure twice, cut once”; “a
journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Israel’s proverbs
offer such practical wisdom but also have the incomparable advantage
of being informed by the nation’s experiences in its covenant relationship with God.
The proverbs in the Bible display the basic literary device found in all
Hebrew poetry: parallelism. Hebrew proverbs are usually expressed
in poetic couplets—two-line compositions in which the second line
echoes, contrasts, or elaborates on the first. Here are a few examples:
Just as the rich rule the poor,
so the borrower is servant to the lender.
Sensible children bring joy to their father;
foolish children despise their mother.
Stay away from fools,
for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.

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