“Unit 23: Day 3, Proverbs,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 23: Day 3,” Old Testament Study Guide
The book of Proverbs is a collection of short sayings that express truths about life, human nature, and the consequences of righteous and wicked behaviors. Proverbs 1–9 contains proverbs that teach the importance of seeking wisdom and trusting in the Lord. Proverbs 10–31 teaches the wisdom of choosing righteousness and virtue and the foolishness of those who follow after the world.
Write down a favorite quotation or short phrase of wisdom that you know and a brief explanation of what it teaches you:
Read Proverbs 1:1–4, looking for words and phrases that describe the purposes of proverbs.
The word subtilty, or subtlety, means carefulness or the ability to govern oneself with judgment and sound reason. Discretion is the ability to make intelligent and careful decisions.
Read Proverbs 1:7, looking for one of the key elements in gaining knowledge.
Look in Proverbs 1:7, footnote a, to find an alternate meaning for the word fear.
One principle we can learn from this verse is that if we have reverence for the Lord and His teachings, then He will bless us with knowledge and wisdom.
To help you understand how you can show reverence for the Lord and His teachings, read the following statement by President David O. McKay:
“The greatest manifestation of spirituality is reverence; indeed, reverence is spirituality. Reverence is profound respect mingled with love. … [One writer] says it is ‘the highest of human feelings.’ …
“Reverence embraces regard, deference, honor, and esteem” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay , 30).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How do you think showing reverence for the Lord and His teachings can help you receive knowledge and wisdom?
Do you think it is possible to be knowledgeable or well educated but not wise? What are some examples of this?
How would you summarize what it means to be wise?
Consider the following statement by President David O. McKay: “Gaining knowledge is one thing, and applying it, quite another. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge, and true education—the education for which the Church stands—is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1968, 93–94).
Search the scripture references listed in the left column of the following chart, looking for ways you can be blessed by seeking wisdom. Write down what you find in the right column of the chart.
Blessings of Seeking Wisdom
Proverbs 2:10–15 (The word froward means perverse, twisted, or untrue.)
From these verses we can learn that if we seek wisdom, then we can avoid sin and enjoy happiness and peace.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some examples you have seen of how seeking wisdom helped you or someone you know avoid sin or enjoy happiness and peace?
To help you identify a principle in Proverbs 3, read the following scenarios and look for what the individuals in the scenarios have in common:
A Latter-day Saint young woman is attracted to a young man who does not believe in the Lord’s standards concerning the law of chastity. The young woman’s parents have asked her not to spend time with him anymore, explaining that in their prayers and discussions together they have had uneasy feelings about her relationship with him. The young woman feels her parents are overreacting, and she becomes upset with them.
After preparing for years, a Latter-day Saint young man has received a scholarship to a university to play soccer. As he discusses his plans with representatives from the university, he learns that his scholarship will be forfeited if he decides to serve a full-time mission, something that he has also been preparing to do for many years.
In each of these scenarios, what kind of decision was the person faced with?
Consider some other situations in which we might have to decide whether we will trust in the Lord instead of our own reasoning.
Read Proverbs 3:5–6, looking for how and why we should trust in the Lord. (Proverbs 3:5–6 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
What do you think it means to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)?
What do you think it means to “in all thy ways acknowledge him” (Proverbs 3:6)?
According to verse 6, what blessing is promised to those who trust in the Lord with all their hearts?
Based on Proverbs 3:5–6, complete the following principle: If we , then the Lord will direct our paths.
Reflect upon a time when you or someone you know received guidance after trusting in the Lord.
- To help you apply the truths taught in Proverbs 3:5–6, complete the following activity in your scripture study journal: Draw a line down the middle of a page. Write Acknowledge Him at the top of one column and He shall direct thy paths at the top of the other. Set a goal to record ways you acknowledge the Lord and ways that He directs your path. Determine a span of time you would like to keep this record. After you complete your record, consider sharing your experiences with acknowledging the Lord and receiving His direction with your family, friends, or a Church leader or class.
Proverbs 10–30 contains words of wisdom about right and wrong ways of living. Some of the more well-known proverbs include: “A soft answer turneth away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1); “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18); “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6); “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7); and “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). In these chapters, look for five or six proverbs that are meaningful to you. Consider sharing what you find with a family member or friend.
Many proverbs teach that wisdom is more valuable than gold. In addition to wisdom, what else would you say is more valuable than riches?
Read Proverbs 31:10–11, looking for who is far more valuable than rubies. From this verse we can learn that a virtuous woman is more valuable than worldly wealth.
To help you better understand what virtue is, read 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?
Proverbs 31 includes a description of the author’s ideal wife (see Bible Dictionary, “Proverbs, book of”). Read Proverbs 31:11–31, looking for qualities of a virtuous woman and blessings women can receive for developing these qualities. These qualities and blessings also apply to men.
Read and ponder the following statement about the importance of keeping our thoughts virtuous: “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).
- In your scripture study journal, write what you can do to be virtuous in your thoughts and actions.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Proverbs and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: