Proverbs (Part 004) - Pro 1:4-6


4. Pro 1:4 - "To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion." A. This verse gives the final reasons that Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs. B. To give subtilty to the simple. i. Subtlety n. - 1. Of persons, the mind, its faculties or operations: Acuteness, sagacity, penetration: in modern use chiefly with implication of delicate or keen perception of fine distinctions or nice points. ii. A man endued with subtilty has a mind that is sharp and keen which can penetrate through complex and convoluted ideas and perceive fine distinctions which are key to discerning the truth of the matter. iii. Simple n. - 1. a. As pl. Persons in a humble or ordinary condition of life. 2. a. As pl. Those who are unlearned, ignorant, easily misled, unsuspecting, etc. 1611 Bible Ps. cxix. 130 The entrance of thy wordes+giueth vnderstanding vnto the simple. b. As sing. An ignorant or foolish person. iv. To "know wisdom" and "perceive the words of understanding" (Pro 1:2) requires that the mind be subtle, able to sort through false and extraneous information to find the truth hidden therein. v. The simple-minded have no such ability (Pro 17:24). vi. The simple don't have a focused mind capable of penetration and keen perception. a. They are instead scatter-brained, chasing every thought that skips across their feeble mind. b. The average person today truly thinks very little, if at all. vii. How can the simple man rectify his problem and become wise? viii. The solution is simple: read the Proverbs and meditate therein (Jos 1:8; Psa 1:2). ix. God's word gives understanding to, and makes wise, the simple (Psa 19:7; Psa 119:130). C. To the young man knowledge and discretion. i. Man is born with a problem: stupidity (Pro 22:15). ii. Man's default intellectual state is ignorance, which is why the scriptures exhort parents to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Pro 22:6), and fathers to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). a. Parents must do their part to educate their children when they are young, but every young man is himself responsible to "get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding" (Pro 4:7). b. Where should the young man look to find knowledge and wisdom? -- the word of God (Psa 119:9). c. Reading the proverbs, which are part of God's word, will give the young man "more understanding than all [his] teachers" when they are his meditation, and cause him to "understand more than the ancients" when he keeps them (Psa 119:99-100). iii. Along with lacking knowledge, the young man also naturally lacks discretion. a. Discretion n. - I. 1. The action of separating or distinguishing, or condition of being distinguished or disjunct; separation, disjunction, distinction. II. 2. The action of discerning or judging; judgement; decision, discrimination. III. 6. Ability to discern or distinguish what is right, befitting, or advisable, esp. as regards one's own conduct or action; the quality of being discreet; discernment; prudence, sagacity, circumspection, sound judgement. b. A short survey of the decisions and actions of youth thoroughly proves that young men lack discretion. c. One need only consider the friends, lovers, food, and entertainment chosen by the average youth, uninfluenced by his parents and the word of God, to consent wholeheartedly to this truth. d. The solution to this problem is reading and studying the book of Proverbs which will give young people discretion to save them from the harmful influences of the world (Pro 2:1-6, 10-11). 5. Pro 1:5 - "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:" A. A wise man will hear. i. There is hearing and then there is hearing. a. Hear v. - 1. a. intr. To perceive, or have the sensation of, sound; to possess or exercise the faculty of audition, of which the specific organ is the ear. (i) This type of hearing is done by wise and foolish alike. (ii) The Pharisees heard Christ's words in the physical sense which was evidenced by the fact that they wanted to kill Him for what he said (Joh 8:37-38). b. Hear v. - 4. To exercise the auditory function intentionally; to give ear, hearken, listen. (i) This type of hearing is unique to the wise. (ii) The Pharisees could not hear Christ's words with understanding because 1) they were not of God, and 2) they were fools and didn't want to (Joh 8:43-47). ii. The result of the second type of hearing is that the wise man will increase learning. a. In order to increase learning, we must listen intentionally. b. We must bow down our ears to hear the words of the wise (Pro 22:17). c. In order to hear and increase learning, a man has to listen more than he talks (Jam 1:19; Ecc 5:1). B. A man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. i. A wise man has enough sense to know that he doesn't know everything. ii. There are two ways to be wise: either know information personally, or know where to find it when needed. a. A man of understanding realizes that he doesn't need to be an expert in every discipline, but need only know someone who is. b. When he needs to increase his learning, rather than proudly and foolishly staying at home trying to figure it out himself, he instead attains unto wise counsel. c. Attain v. - III. 10. To come so far as, succeed in coming to, get (to). to attain to = reach, arrive at. iii. A wise man doesn't wait for wise counsel to come to him, rather, he goes to it. a. I will gladly take unsolicited advice from wise men, but I usually seek it out from them first when making any important decision. (i) Before I would make any major, life-changing decision, I would seek wise counsel. (ii) Such decisions would include going to college, choosing a career, changing careers, changing jobs, retirement planning, retiring, buying a house, buying a car or other large expenditures, engagement and marriage, raising children, education plans for children, investing large amounts of money, starting a business, major health decisions, etc. (iii) In all these areas, counsel should be sought before already having one's mind made up. b. The only man that will learn is he who wants to learn, and voluntarily seeks instruction. c. There is an old adage which says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." d. This is why it's a fool's errand to send most young people to college with a check in their hand, expecting them to get an education (Pro 17:16). 6. Pro 1:6 - "To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings." A. Let's look at the second half of this proverb first before getting to the first half. B. The words of the wise, and their dark sayings. i. Even to a learned man, some of the proverbs are difficult to understand, hence the reason they are called dark sayings. ii. Dark adj - I. literal. 1. a. Characterized by (absolute or relative) absence of light; devoid of or deficient in light; unilluminated; said esp. of night. II. fig. 6. a. Obscure in meaning, hard to understand. iii. A dark saying is something that has been kept secret (Psa 78:2 c/w Mat 13:35). iv. Some proverbs, therefore, are secretive sayings with obscure meanings that are hard to be understood which is why they have to be interpreted. C. To understand a proverb, and the interpretation... i. From the word order we see that the proverb itself must first be understood, after which the interpretation can be comprehended (Pro 1:6). a. Put another way, to understand what a verse means we must first understand what it says. b. To know what a proverb says requires that we identify its form which will usually be one of the following types: comparing, contrasting, or a statement of truth (see Interpreting a Proverb, Section II). c. Once it is clear what a proverb says, then the interpretation must be given. d. Interpretation n. - The action of interpreting or explaining; explanation, exposition. e. To give the interpretation is to explain what the proverb means. ii. To understand a proverb and the interpretation, Solomon taught in the previous verse that a wise man must attain unto wise counsel, listen, and learn (Pro 1:5). iii. Proverb n. - 1. a. A short pithy saying in common and recognized use; a concise sentence, often metaphorical or alliterative in form, which is held to express some truth ascertained by experience or observation and familiar to all; an adage, a wise saw. a. Though a proverb is a saying in common use, its meaning is not necessarily obvious to all. b. Given that a proverb is a wise saying that expresses a truth gained by experience, those who have yet to experience what the older and wiser generation have must therefore learn to understand and interpret their sayings. iv. As previously stated, a man must attain unto wise counsels to understand a proverb and the interpretation (Pro 1:5-6). a. How can a man understand what he reads without some man to guide him (Act 8:30-31)? b. In the multitude of counselors there is safety (Pro 11:14). c. The best counsel of all is the counsel of the LORD (Pro 19:21). (i) God's counsel is found in His word (Psa 119:24; Pro 2:6; Pro 22:20-21), which is manifested through preaching (Tit 1:3). (ii) The best way to understand a proverb and the interpretation is to learn in the manner in which the Holy Ghost teaches, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1Co 2:13). (iii) For the finest explanation of an author's work, it's best to ask the author himself. (iv) The proverbs are no different.