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Harvard Graduate Summer Christian Fellowship 6/27

Proverbs 4 (NIV)
1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; 16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;
pay attention and gain understanding. they are robbed of sleep till they make someone
2 I give you sound learning, stumble.
so do not forsake my teaching. 17 They eat the bread of wickedness
3 For I too was a son to my father, and drink the wine of violence.
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, 18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart; shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
keep my commands, and you will live. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
5 Get wisdom, get understanding; they do not know what makes them stumble.
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; 20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
love her, and she will watch over you. turn your ear to my words.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. 21 Do not let them out of your sight,
Though it cost all you have, get understanding. keep them within your heart;
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; 22 for they are life to those who find them
embrace her, and she will honor you. and health to one’s whole body.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head 23 Above all else, guard your heart,
and present you with a glorious crown.” for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
and the years of your life will be many. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom fix your gaze directly before you.
and lead you along straight paths. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; and be steadfast in all your ways.
when you run, you will not stumble. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; keep your foot from evil.
guard it well, for it is your life.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
Harvard Graduate Summer Christian Fellowship 6/27

Questions for discussion made your life limited or worse? If so,

why do you think that could be the case?
vv. 5-9: Exhortation to value  In verses 18-19, righteousness (or
wisdom wisdom) is associated with light, while
 Here and in this chapter in general (as well wickedness is associated with darkness,
as in previous chapters), we are exhorted specifically ignorance (“they do not know
to value wisdom. However, it is not what makes them stumble”). Is it always
explained in detail what exactly wisdom the case that a wicked person is ignorant?
is, or how to be wise – instead, it is What might the author mean here?
personified like a woman that we are
simply to love and embrace. Why do you vv. 20-27: Guarding our hearts,
think the author describes wisdom in this minds, and bodies for wisdom
way? How wopuld it make a difference in  Here, we are exhorted to “guard your
the way you interpret this exhortation and heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (v.
apply it? 23). We see again the association between
 The rewards of wisdom (a “garland of wisdom and life (also previously in vv. 13,
grace” and a “crown of splendor”) are so 22). This also assumes that it is possible in
important that we are to pursue wisdom the first place to guard ourselves from
“though it cost all you have” (v. 7). What wickedness – wisdom doesn’t just happen
might the author mean by these rewards to us, we have to deliberately go to great
that are so precious? Is it material, lengths to keep ourselves on its path, even
spiritual, or something else? Also think of to make our own path for it (v. 26). How
the possible relation of wisdom to God’s would you interpret “guarding your heart”
created order (Proverbs 3:19-20, and later in your life – spirituality, relationships,
in 8:22-31) and its implication on this. work, personal conduct?

vv. 10-19: The way of wisdom

versus the way of wickedness
 In this section, the author urges the son to
walk in the way of wisdom, “for it is your
life” (v. 13). What do you think it means
to have wisdom as your life?
 Even though there are many instances of
the wicked prospering (even in the Bible),
do you agree or not that in general,
following God's commands and the way of
wisdom leads to a more fulfilling life (vv.
11-12)? Have you ever felt that doing so