Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse
Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
We are now in what scholars call the sapiential, or wisdom, literature. The book of Proverbs can be divided into two large sections. Chapters 1-9 contain longer poems with everyday life lessons. For example, chapter 1 is a poem in praise of wisdom itself, urging sons and daughters (and all of us) to listen to the wise and steer clear of fools who will bring harm to their lives. Chapter 2 is a poem that points the young to the benefits of becoming wise: success in life, victory over foes, and protection from the wrong kind of men and women.
Chapters 10-31 contain a collection of individual proverbs—short, pithy sayings. We might call them memorable one-liners, although in Hebrew they are more often two-liners. The proverbs give us down-to-earth wisdom about life.
Proverbs is for our good (and God’s glory, of course). As C. S. Lewis noted in his book, Mere Christianity: “[Christ] told us not only to be as ‘harmless as doves,’ but also ‘as wise as serpents.’ He wants a child’s heart, but a grown ups head….The proper motto is not ‘Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,’ but ‘Be good, sweet maid, and don’t forget that this involves being as clever as you can.” So read up, listen up, and wisen up!