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Copyright © 2011, by the Sunday School Publishing Board. 330 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37201-1188. E-mail: customercare@sspbnbc.com • Web site: www.sspbnbc.com


LESSON 1­ September 4, 2011

Unit I. Teaching and Learning

Wisdom for Living DEVOTIONAL READING: Psalm 115:3-11 BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 3:1-35 PRINT PASSAGE: Proverbs 3:1-12

Key Verse—Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, NIV). ..... Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, KJV).

Key Terms: Acknowledge (verse 6)—Hebrew: yada` (yaw-dah’): to know, to perceive and see; to be acquainted with; to distinguish. Delighteth (verse 12)—Hebrew: ratsah (raw-tsaw’): to be pleased with; to be favorable to; to accept. Honor (verse 9)—Hebrew: kabad (kaw-bad’): to glorify; to be made abundant; to make great. Life (Proverbs 3:2)—Hebrew: chay (khah’-ee): to be alive; a living thing; to be active. Truth (verse 3)—Hebrew: `emeth (eh’-meth): faithfulness, reliability; verity; assuredness; of divine instruction. Understanding (verse 4)—Hebrew: sekel (seh’-kel): prudence, insight; good sense; knowledge; discretion.

4  Faith Pathway Adult

Lesson Aims As a result of experiencing this lesson, the students: • Will know and understand the basis for and benefits of godly living. • Will show evidence of decision making influenced by the wisdom that Proverbs 3:1-12 espouses. • Will grow in finding true meaning and purpose in life. Introduction Home training is a colloquial expression that refers to one’s background—this includes how a person has been raised, what kind of obedience he or she shows toward authority, and even his or her views about how to approach life and how to behave. One Web site defines home training this way: “What your mama gave you when she taught you table manners and social etiquette and showed you how to behave yourself in public—learned behavior that comes in very useful once you hit adulthood” (urbandictionary.com). What home training do you recall that is useful to you and has prepared you to live well? God’s Word—His teaching—is the best source of home training for life. King Solomon encouraged home training through God’s wisdom in the proverbs he wrote. They speak of the blessings that result from our devoting ourselves to applying God’s wisdom. The book of Proverbs is rooted in a tradition of instruction that encourages godly living by trusting in God.


The Biblical Context The Handbook of Bible Application’s focus on the wisdom in the book of Proverbs concludes, “In this age of information, knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce. Wisdom means far more than knowing a lot. It is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life. . . . Faith in God should be the controlling principle for your understanding of the world, your attitudes, and your actions.” Proverbs 3 is a description of wisdom as a value that protects and brings well-being. Verses 1-2 provide an introduction for our Printed Text. Verses 3-12 may be subdivided into five sections: verses 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. These verses are the most God-centered in the book of Proverbs, because each sub-section mentions God’s (the Lord’s) name (verse 4b, verse 5a, verse 7b, verse 9a, verse 11a, and verse 12a). The admonition to “fear the Lord” (verse 7b) is the theological heart of the wisdom and instructions in the book of Proverbs.

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ANALYSIS OF THE BIBLICAL TEXT

Mercy and Truth (Proverbs 3:1-4)

NIV

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

KJV

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. God gives a personal call (“My son,” verse 1) to accept His wisdom—God’s truth (“My law,” verse 1). The book of Proverbs is the observational, experiential teaching of the Hebrew writer on the wisdom and knowledge of God. We apply God’s teaching by reading and internalizing His Word in our hearts (see Psalm 119:11); this leads to an added benefit—His “peace” (verse 2). Translated from Faith Pathway Adult  5


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Wisdom for Living Proverbs 3:1-12

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Does living right REALLY pay off? Identify a time in your life when you felt rewarded or vindicated for doing what was right in a particular situation.

the Hebrew word shalom, peace here infers not only peace and prosperity, but also wholeness, health, and harmony. If we have peace, we can then partake of the “mercy and truth” (verse 3) of God. Mercy refers to the Hebrew word hesed, which means “covenant love” and is the Old Testament equivalent to agape in the New Testament. Mercy demonstrates both God’s love and faithfulness to His people (Israel) and, in the New Testament, His grace and truth (see John 1:14). What are the rewards of internalizing mercy and truth? We learn from verse 4 that we will find favor and respect (“good understanding”) with both God and man. We will develop reputations for doing the right things in the right ways. Our lives will reflect the glory of God.

Lives of Trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-8)

NIV

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

KJV

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Verses 5-6 are two of the most quoted Old Testament passages. Yet, because these verses are so often quoted, their rich meaning is often overlooked. Having trust entails entrusting ourselves to God (see Psalm 22:9; Isaiah 26:4). In other words, we have to yield ourselves totally to God—mind, body, and soul. The second part of verse 5 and verse 6 give us the characteristics of lives lived trusting in God. First, those persons lean totally on God by going to Him for guidance in every WHAT DO YOU THINK? aspect of their lives. Second, they “acknowledge Him”—that is, Looking back over the past they develop an intimate relationship with Him. There are no year of your life, what was a circumstance in your life “secret areas” in such lives. The relationship grows daily through when you had to exercise continual study of the Word, prayer, and right living. Finally, trust in God? In what ways these lives of trust are rewarded through God’s direction (“direct did you benefit from exerthy paths,” verse 6) around, over, and through life’s obstacles. cising such trust? To reinforce the idea of trust, in verse 7 we are warned against being self-centered (“wise in thine own eyes”) and commanded 6  Faith Pathway Adult


to “fear the Lord.” Fear of the Lord entails having respect for and showing obedience to God, and is equated with hatred of evil, humility, knowledge of God, loyalty, and faithfulness. Lives lived trusting in God are then rewarded with health and strength (verse 8).

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Wisdom for Living Proverbs 3:1-12

GIVE and Understand (Proverbs 3:9-12) NIV

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

KJV

9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. In verses 9-10, we are called to give in the manner as God has blessed us. Recalling the first fruits offering of Deuteronomy 26, those who trust in God must honor Him with the first and best of their possessions (see verse 9), which are actually God’s, anyhow. Giving to God keeps our focus on the source of our blessings, helps us manage our possessions better, and gives us the opportunity to receive God’s choicest WHAT DO YOU THINK? blessings—“so shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy What is the distinction presses shall burst out with new wine” (verse 10). between “corrective” Finally, those who trust in God must understand that God discipline and “punitive” corrects (“chastening,” verse 11) them because He loves them (see discipline? How can you reconcile the two as verse 12; Hebrews 12:5-6). Correction is part of discipline (“to coming from the same teach and train”) and should not be confused with physical or verbal God? punishment. Rather, it is God’s way of guiding us toward Christian maturity. Even in human terms, our childhoods were filled with times when we were upset at our parents’ discipline. However, later in life, we realized that this was done with our best interests at heart.

A Closing Thought

All our Christian journeys have a common destination—heaven. We should continually assess our position on our life’s journeys by comparing it to our spiritual GPS (God’s Positioning System)— God’s Word. In Proverbs 3:5-6, we are challenged to look at our values and priorities. It is easy to quote theses verses (especially 3:5-6). However, are we living according to them? As believers, we should be striving daily to ensure that we allow God to direct ALL aspects of our lives. Faith Pathway Adult  7


Your Life

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Develop seven “wisdom for living” principles, one each from verses 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 11. Write them down for future reference and review.

Wisdom for Living Proverbs 3:1-12

Your World!

This week, share your personal testimony of the blessings and benefits of following God’s wisdom with a neighbor, friend, or co-worker. Closing Prayer: Lord God, we seek your guidance daily to help us grow in trusting and obeying you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Conclusion

(Preparing for Next Week’s Lesson)

While reading the background Scripture, consider this thought: “Adults examine daily choices in light of the teachings about God’s wisdom.”

Home Daily Bible Readings MONDAY, September 5 TUESDAY, September 6 WEDNESDAY, September 7 THURSDAY, September 8 FRIDAY, September 9 SATURDAY, September 10 SUNDAY, September 11

8  Faith Pathway Adult

“Guard Your Heart and Mind” “Walk Uprightly” “Keep God’s Commandments” “Lifelong Protection” “Walk in Your Parents’ Paths” “Prize Wisdom” “Walk the Straight Path”

(Proverbs 23:15-19) (Psalm 84:8-12) (Joshua 23:1-8) (Psalm 91:9-16) (Proverbs 1:8-15) (Proverbs 4:1-9) (Proverbs 4:10-15, 20-27)


LESSON 1­ September 4, 2011

Unit I. Teaching and Learning

Wisdom for Living DEVOTIONAL READING: Psalm 115:3-11 BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 3:1-35 PRINT PASSAGE: Proverbs 3:1-12

Key Verse—Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, NIV). ..... Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, KJV).

Key Terms: Acknowledge (verse 6)—Hebrew: yada` (yaw-dah’ ): to know, to perceive and see; to be acquainted with; to distinguish. Delighteth (verse 12)—Hebrew: ratsah (raw-tsaw’): to be pleased with; to be favorable to; to accept. Honor (verse 9)—Hebrew: kabad (kaw-bad’): to glorify; to be made abundant; to make great. Life (Proverbs 3:2)—Hebrew: chay (khah’-ee): to be alive; a living thing; to be active. Truth (verse 3)—Hebrew: `emeth (eh’-meth): faithfulness, reliability; verity; assuredness; of divine instruction. Understanding (verse 4)—Hebrew: sekel (seh’-kel): prudence, insight; good sense; knowledge; discretion.

Reference: Townsend Press Sunday School Commentary

10  FAITH JOURNEY Young Adult

Lesson Aims: Upon completion of this lesson, the students should: • Understand the biblical meanings of God’s wisdom. • Commit to make good choices through God’s wisdom. • Show the results of this guidance through his/her daily living.

Life Happens Blair and Angel are having a credible discussion on the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Is there a difference? Blair thinks that these words are synonymous, but Angel feels that there is a difference— meaning, to have knowledge is to obtain information through association, teachings, or experience; and to possess wisdom is to think and to have insight on how to use what you know. Blair understands this viewpoint somewhat, but needs more clarification. So Angel decides to break it down via a real-life math experience. She states to Blair, “Now, math can be a challenging subject to learn, wouldn’t you agree?” Blair concurs. So Angel continues, “And the critical part about math is learning how to apply its concepts to our daily lives, right?” He says, “Yeah, of course!” Then, Angel shares, “Rising gas prices is a hot topic, and the pain at the pump is real. So how many miles per gallon can one


Overview According to The Teacher’s Commentary by Lawrence Richards, Proverbs 3 is one of “praise of wisdom.” While Webster defines wisdom as “the faculty of making the best use of knowledge, experience, understanding,” this secular definition falls short of the full biblical understanding of wisdom. Wisdom truly is essential to daily life. One does not have to possess an elevated IQ, or be the most well-read to possess wisdom. Consider King Solomon, who asked God for wisdom. Once challenged by two women who brought to him their dispute over an infant, Solomon’s solution has since been hailed as one of the best examples of wisdom in action ever recorded (see 1 Kings 3:16-28). Yet, his wisdom was not his to claim or boast of, because it was given to him by God (see 1 Kings 4:30-32). Wisdom is valuable, desirable, and essential for life. Though many reject wisdom, it is available to anyone, young or old, who will seek God and apply His Word in life. The book of Proverbs contains many sayings that King Solomon collected or originated. The bulk of the book of Proverbs (see 10:1–22:16) is attributed to Solomon’s writing, and includes some 375 sayings consisting of two lines each. These sayings cover subjects from dealing with humanity to treatment of animals. The book of Proverbs pertains to all of life, while commentators agree that the first ten chapters of the book of proverbs focus on wisdom, its practice, and general results in many specific life situations. The writer stated, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). It is noteworthy that the “beginning” of wisdom is not found anywhere else but in respecting God and His Word. Though we might define wisdom as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting,” however, Solomon wrote that one can have all of these attributes and still be lacking in wisdom.

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really accommodate to make certain that everything runs smoothly? The variables may be different for each person with the work commute, grocery requirements, daycare needs, etc., but what is the main question that really affects you when it comes to this experience in your life?” Blair exhales and says, “Lord, how can I make it from day to day? That’s my basic question every day.” In all circumstances, feel free to ask God for wisdom on how to maneuver beyond your personal experiences. Ask Him to enlighten you and to give you discernment. God wants you to have insight on how to use what you know—just ask.

Questions 1. When do you feel clueless or helpless in applying what you know? 2. What is your reaction to a person who knows all the answers, but doesn’t know what to do with the information? 3. In what areas of your life do you need God to display and enhance wisdom?

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Wisdom for Living Proverbs 3:1-12

COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLICAL TEXT

Rewards of Right Living (Proverbs 3:1-4)

NIV

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

KJV

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. The quest for wisdom is not an impossible dream walk. It is very much within our grasp if we turn to God. Notice verse 1b: “Let thine heart keep my commandments.” This goes beyond simply writing the directives in a notebook, or even committing them to memory. The heart (which was to the Jew the seat of emotion) is where people should preserve God’s instructions. Put simply, God’s commands should be a part of one’s very being. The instruction and the reward here: keeping God’s commandments in one’s heart results in “length of days, and long life, and peace” (verse 2). There is some disagreement concerning the translation of the Hebrew in verse 3. The KJV speaks of “mercy and truth,” while the NIV talks of “love and faithfulness.” However, there is not much difference in the meaning of the terms. What is important is where these virtues WHAT DO YOU THINK? are kept; something kept around one’s neck will not be easily Think about a current sitoverlooked or ignored, either by the person or by the observing uation involving someone you know. This can be a public. God’s Word should have a prominent place in one’s life. friend (or a stranger in the What is the reward? “Favor and good understanding in the sight news) making some deof God and man” (verse 4). Who among us does not want to cision. What may be the get along with God, people, and have health, well-being, a good result of “faulty” decision making (lack of wisdom)? reputation, a good name, peace, and God’s love? This comes from a wise “inner” or heart life, when we surrender to God and follow His teachings.

12  FAITH JOURNEY Young Adult


Benefits of Trusting in God (Proverbs 3:5-8)

NIV

L1

Wisdom for Living Proverbs 3:1-12

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

KJV

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Are these verses a statement of facts or a set of promises? They are both! They are precious promises to Christians: Trust your life to God and you will not be disappointed. We learn from verse 5 that all the understanding a person may acquire can never replace the need for full trust in God’s superior ways. The word trust carries with it the connotation of “surrender.” Trust calls on one to put aside normal inhibitions and permit the other person to manipulate a given situation. In order to truly trust, one must have faith in the one to whom the trust is given. There is, in these verses, possibly the “main” proverb of all the proverbs now before us: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (verse 6). In short, God will impart wisdom to those who seek Him in every instance in life. One tempting pitfall (especially to those who may pride WHAT DO YOU THINK? themselves on education and experience) is to be wise in one’s In what ways did you own eyes (verse 7). In order for one to be wise in his or her own experience any benefit eyesight, he or she would have to forget that he or she serves an from exercising trust in God? Did you experiall-wise God—and that God’s thoughts transcend our thoughts ence any disappoint(see Isaiah 55:9). Depending on one’s own ideas is to forsake ments that may have dependence on God. led you to think that it The Bible Knowledge Commentary notes that straight paths does not pay to trust totally in God? means more than guidance; it means God removes the obstacles, making a smooth path or way of life, or better yet, bringing you to your appointed goal in life. “Proverbs teaches that those who follow wisdom have an easier, less problematic life. ‘Health in one’s bones . . .’ suggests that spiritual and physical health are related” (see verse 8). Who would not want an easier, healthier life with fewer problems?

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Wisdom for Living Proverbs 3:1-12

God’s Requirements (Proverbs 3:9-12)

NIV

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. ord ’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 11 My son, do not despise the L 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

KJV

9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. The writer moved from godly concept to godly activity. Here, the sharing of one’s “substance” (assets) with God is required. It is not simply the idea of sharing some of one’s substance, but particularly the first fruits of that substance. In other words, set aside God’s part before you get any fruits for yourself. Do this, and the reward will come in the form of “barns…filled with plenty” (verses 9-10). Of course, God does not always reward; He sometimes disciplines. For those who have good relationships with God, being disciplined is not bad news (verse 11). The maturing Christian recognizes God’s discipline as a sign of love—“Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (verse 12, NIV). It is not as though we are investing in the stock market when WHAT DO YOU THINK? we obey God; we are honoring God, which has an absolute In what ways can one’s reward—there is no risk in that. Even His discipline provides actions display a lack of wisdom? riches for our lives. As promised earlier in this proverb, God will make sure that we reach our goal.

Your Life

Life is full of decisions: “Should I pursue this relationship or wait on God? Should I dedicate time to studying God’s Word or chill with my friends? Should I stay in school or pursue my job/ career? Should I spend money on that item I’ve dreamt about, or save and invest for later? What is the best way to cement my future?” Often these answers are not to be found in other people, in secular books, or in the advice of business professionals. As we know, life is temporary and risky. Only wisdom can make our relationships what they should be. Only wisdom can bring peace. Wisdom secures your name, reputation, purpose, and status in life. Going to God is how one can always find wisdom. Identify what the Holy Spirit is leading you to do in terms of making changes in your life regarding seeking wisdom for decision making, life choices, relationships, etc.

14  FAITH JOURNEY Young Adult


Your World!

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When you are complimented by others for some great idea, accomplishment, brave act, or smart decision, what’s your response? Do you take the opportunity to say to the world that credit for all good things should go to God? This is a classic opportunity to help spread the Good News of the Gospel. You don’t have to fake it. You can say something like, “Thanks for seeing God working through me.”

Wisdom for Living Proverbs 3:1-12

Closing Prayer:

Father, grant us Your wisdom—the same wisdom with which You blessed Solomon and others. Thank You for the love You demonstrated to us by Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Home Daily Bible Readings MONDAY, September 5 TUESDAY, September 6 WEDNESDAY, September 7 THURSDAY, September 8 FRIDAY, September 9 SATURDAY, September 10 SUNDAY, September 11

“Guard Your Heart and Mind” “Walk Uprightly” “Keep God’s Commandments” “Lifelong Protection” “Walk in Your Parents’ Paths” “Prize Wisdom” “Walk the Straight Path”

(Proverbs 23:15-19) (Psalm 84:8-12) (Joshua 23:1-8) (Psalm 91:9-16) (Proverbs 1:8-15) (Proverbs 4:1-9) (Proverbs 4:10-15, 20-27)

FAITH JOURNEY Young Adult   15


SSPB Adult Curriculum 2011  

SSPB Adult Curriculum 2011

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