“Lesson 114: Proverbs 10–31,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 114,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Proverbs 10–31 teaches the wisdom of choosing righteousness and virtue and the foolishness of following after the world. The book of Proverbs concludes with a poem focusing on the characteristics of a virtuous woman, whose value “is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).
Write the following proverb on the board: How much better is it to get than gold!
Invite students to explain how they would complete the statement and why.
Ask a student to read Proverbs 16:16 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for the word that fills in the blank.
Remind students that a primary purpose of the book of Proverbs is to impart wisdom (see Proverbs 1:1–4). Explain that in their study of Proverbs 10–30, they will have the opportunity to discover and “teach one another words of wisdom” (D&C 88:118). Provide students with copies of the following chart as a handout. (The chart highlights proverbs containing principles that may be relevant to students’ lives.)
Explain to students that they will have about five minutes to silently study some of the proverbs listed in the chart. Invite them to look for and choose a proverb they feel teaches an important principle that they would be comfortable teaching to their classmates. Explain that they do not need to choose an entire group of proverbs listed on the same line or in the same column, but that they can choose one or more verses from anywhere on the chart.
After students have had time to study and choose a proverb, invite them to prepare to teach it to others using the instructions listed at the bottom of the handout.
To provide an example for students, you may want to teach a principle from a proverb of your choice by using the instructions listed on the handout. When students are prepared to teach, you could assign them to teach one another in pairs or in small groups, or you could invite students to teach the entire class.
Display a small amount of money. You may want to remind students of the proverb they studied that teaches that wisdom is more valuable than gold (see Proverbs 16:16).
In addition to wisdom, what else would you say is more valuable than riches?
Invite a student to read Proverbs 31:10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who is more valuable than riches.
Who is more valuable than riches? (You may need to explain that rubies are very valuable stones that are sometimes used in making expensive jewelry.)
What principle can we learn from verse 10 about the value of virtue? (Students may suggest a variety of principles, but be sure they identify that virtue is more valuable than worldly wealth. Using students’ words, write this principle on the board.)
How would you explain what virtue is?
As part of your discussion on virtue, you may want to invite a student to read aloud the following statement:
“Virtue originates in your innermost thoughts and desires. It is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. Since the Holy Ghost does not dwell in unclean tabernacles, virtue is prerequisite to receiving the Spirit’s guidance. What you choose to think and do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue.
“Virtuous people are clean and pure spiritually. They focus on righteous, uplifting thoughts and put unworthy thoughts that lead to inappropriate actions out of their minds. They obey God’s commandments and follow the counsel of Church leaders. They pray for the strength to resist temptation and do what is right. They quickly repent of any sins or wrongdoings. They live worthy of a temple recommend” (Preach My Gospel , 118–19).
Why do you think virtue is so valuable?
Explain that Proverbs 31 includes a description of the author’s ideal wife (see Bible Dictionary, “Proverbs, book of”). Invite students to take turns reading aloud from Proverbs 31:11–31. Ask the class to follow along and look for qualities of a virtuous person and blessings we can receive for developing these qualities. (Point out that these qualities and blessings also apply to men.) As students identify qualities and blessings, you may want to ask follow-up questions such as:
What do you think that phrase means?
Why would these same qualities be valuable for men to cultivate? Why do you think that is an important quality to have?
What is an example of how developing that quality can lead to the blessing you identified?
Divide the class into small groups. Ask students to discuss the following question in their groups:
What are some things we can do that will help us to be virtuous in our thoughts and actions?
After students have had sufficient time to discuss this question, ask each group to choose someone to report their ideas to the class. You may also want to ask a student to read aloud the following statement:
“Your mind is like a stage in a theater; in the theater of your mind, however, only one actor can be on stage at a time. If the stage is left bare, thoughts of darkness and sin often enter the stage to tempt. But these thoughts have no power if the stage of your mind is occupied by wholesome thoughts, such as a memorized hymn or verse of scripture that you can call upon in a moment of temptation. By controlling the stage of your mind, you can successfully resist persistent urges to yield to temptation and indulge in sin. You can become pure and virtuous” (Preach My Gospel , 119).
Consider inviting students to testify of the value of choosing to live a virtuous and righteous life. Invite students to set a goal of something they will do to help them have virtuous thoughts or develop the qualities identified in Proverbs 31, and encourage them to follow through with their goal.