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Bible Thought

Wise Men Lay Up Knowledge

Proverbs chapter 10 begins a new style of writing for the book. Previously the chapters had one or two themes each. But now we get into the section of Proverbs that is probably more familiar. For the rest of the book, most of the verses are stand-alone sentences. Occasionally though, like here in chapter 10, you will find several verses on a theme.

The theme we find throughout this chapter is how that wise men choose their words carefully but the fool does not. A second theme is that the wise will become wiser and fools refuse instruction. Here are several verses from chapter 10 about our speech.

Watch Your Mouth!

8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.
11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

Proverbs 10

These verses are about the wisdom of choosing your words carefully. The foolish man talks too much. And the wise impart wisdom with their words.

Verses 9 and 10 use an interesting word. The word prating is the same word that is translated more often as lip, language or speech. In fact, the only two times it is translated prating are in these two verses in Proverbs. A modern definition of the word prating is to speak foolishly or at tedious length about something. Or, to talk too much about nothing.

Wise Become Wiser

8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

Proverbs 10

Another theme you see often in the book is the fact that the wise loves instruction and is willing to take correction. Conversely, the fool refuses to be taught.

These verses say of the wise that they will receive commandments, lay up knowledge, keep instruction, his words will be a blessing to many, and his understanding brings more wisdom.

The fool on the other hand shall fall (that phrase literally means to be thrown down and beaten), be destroyed, refuse correction, die for their lack of wisdom, and enjoys mischief.

These verses aren’t saying you can’t have fun and be a wise person. There is plenty of enjoyment in life for the wise. But the fun that the wise has is not called mischief (doing harm to others) nor does it include being thrown down and beaten.

The wise and the fool are contrasted throughout Proverbs. Here it speaks often of the way they talk, their actions and whether they are teachable or not.

Wisdom is a Skill

We’ve seen through this series in Proverbs that wisdom is a skill that is learned. Don’t fall for the false idea that says, “you are either wise or you are not.” That is like saying, “you either can draw or you can’t.” Wisdom, like drawing, is a skill that can be learned. Some people may have a natural tendency to enjoy drawing, but no one is born with the ability. They had to learn it.

Before you say that you can’t draw, I want you to think if there was ever an expert art teacher who has tried to teach you to draw but walked away with the conclusion that you were hopeless and not worth investing their time in. My guess is that most of us have decided on our own that we aren’t capable of drawing. It was a decision we made and not one that a good teacher pronounced upon you.

We have an expert who is skilled in wisdom who wants to teach us the skills of wisdom. If you walk away from Proverbs and the rest of the Bible, you will not find wisdom. But you can’t legitimately claim that you can’t learn wisdom. You made that decision on your own. The Bible says we can learn wisdom and that is what the book of Proverbs wants to teach us.

By dpeach

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