What is the interpretation of Proverbs chapter 1?
Proverbs 1 can be broken into three sections. The first section is the opening of the book and lays the groundwork for understanding what the beginning of wisdom is. The book of Proverbs is all about godly wisdom that leads to success in life.
Most of Proverbs is full of short sayings of wisdom that can be applied to different situations. But the first couple of chapters flow like most of the Bible. From verse to verse it makes sense as a unit as you read straight through.
Solomon begins by explaining what wisdom is in Proverbs 1:1-7. Solomon gives himself as the author of the book (Proverbs 1:1). He outlines four goals of the book (Proverbs 1:2-4). These goals are:
- To know wisdom and instruction – to understand wise sayings and practice practical wisdom for life.
- To understand words of insight – a skillful knowledge and grasping of what wise people teach for daily application.
- To receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity – after understanding wise sayings, to demonstrate righteousness toward everyone, enact justice in every dealing, what everyone deserves in the situation, and equity, the straight path that leads to success..
- To give prudence and knowledge – to the simple and to the young people. This is the roadmap to glorifying God with our actions.
Proverbs 1:5-6 further explains that those who read this book will gain guidance in life through understanding these wise sayings and Proverbs. Proverbs 1:7 describes the fear of the Lord, or revering and worshiping him, as the basis for all knowledge. Only fools don’t want to grow in these areas.
The second section of the chapter is wise instruction from the father, Solomon, to one of his sons. We can take it today to be the wisdom passed down from parents to children. The child, the one who must learn wisdom, should listen to his parents because they want to pass down this wisdom to him so that he will do well in life (Proverbs 1:8-9). We often don’t listen to our parents until much later in life when we become parents ourselves and realize that they were trying to help us all along.
He warns this son that sinners will attempt to bring him over to their side. They will entice him to do the evil things that they want to do in the world (Proverbs 1:10-14). They want to provide a shortcut to life but this shortcut doesn’t work. It will not benefit them or this son in the end if he chooses their path.
So the wise father tries to warn his son not to follow in their footsteps (Proverbs 1:15-19). Their end is destruction and if the sun goes with them he will share the same fate. It is better to be wise and to not listen to them at all.
To this end, the father shows wisdom as a Lady calling out in the streets for people to follow her instead (Proverbs 1:20-23). Then we see the results of those who do not listen to Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 1:24-33).
As the foolish did not listen to wisdom, even wisdom will laugh at them when their calamity comes upon them. She will be scornful because they did not listen when they had the chance. It will be too late when they are in the midst of their own destruction.
The last verse tells us that anyone who listens to wisdom and practices it will have security and live well in peace. They will not dread the disasters and the destruction of the foolish. This is a wonderful promise from the Lord that if we walk in wisdom he will bless our obedience.