In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3). I take that to mean that there is no wisdom or knowledge that does not come from Christ, the eternal Word of God, by whom and for whom all things were created. To learn wisdom is, therefore, to learn to think and act like Christ.
The Book of Proverbs is a mother lode of wisdom, a treasure trove of instruction in thinking and acting like Christ. Two questions that I’ve found helpful in mining Proverbs for its wisdom are 1) What are You, Yahweh, revealing about yourself here?, and 2) What does this teach me about the mind of Christ—the way Jesus thinks? In this brief article, I attempt to sketch out answers to these questions from Proverbs 6.
There is no wisdom or knowledge that does not come from Christ.
Proverbs 6:1-5 — Yahweh, You want to protect me and want me to protect my sons from bearing the financial penalty of other people’s irresponsibility. Jesus, You think that it is better to give money to those who ask for it (Luke 6:30), than to be forced to give it because we became security for them.
Proverbs 6:6-11 — Yahweh, You are diligent and want me to be diligent. Although you may allow poverty in the lives of your people, in general it is not your desire for them. The path you want us to walk to avoid poverty is diligence. Jesus, You value and practice diligence.
Proverbs 6:12-15 — Yahweh, You describe the worthless man (adam beliyya’al) so I will not be one, so I will recognize one when I see one, and so I and my sons can avoid him. Jesus, You think there are people who because of their chosen patterns of behavior have become worthless and evil. You know their destruction will come suddenly.
Proverbs 6:16-20 — Yahweh, You hate dishonesty. Twice you mention some form of it here: lying tongue, a false witness who breathes out lies. Jesus, You abominate pride, dishonesty, murder, evil scheming, eager participation in evil, false testimony, and strife spreading. You delight in humility, honesty, life saving, planning for good, rejection of evil, true testimony, and peace-making.
To learn wisdom is to learn to think and act like Christ.
Proverbs 6:20-23 — Yahweh, You, as my Father, have given me commands and instruction that lead to life, that give light, that guide and guard me! What a gracious and kind Father you are! Jesus, You think that the Father’s instruction should be treasured.
Proverbs 6:24-35 — Yahweh, You want to guard me from the destruction of adultery. Jesus, You think adultery is evil and apply the warning against desiring the adulteress’s beauty in one’s heart in Matt. 5:27-28. Jesus, You view adulteresses as evil women (Prov. 6:24) and as persons to be avoided like one avoids stepping on hot coals (Prov. 6:28). Yet, You also welcome such women to hear the gospel (Luke 15:2) and offer forgiveness to those who repent (Luke 7:48). They were, however, your audience and followers not your companions or inner circle.
This is but a tithe of the wealth that lies embedded in Proverbs. Augustine would counsel us “Tolle! Lege!”—”Take and read!” Wisdom cries out, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts” (Prov. 8:34).