Proverb for the Day 1:1 — Practice What We Teach

Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel

Proverbs were ancient wise sayings about life. The Hebrew word “proverb” means “comparison,” which describes how most proverbs are structured and what they say. Many are just that, short statements of contrasts about universal truths and human behavior.

This verse introduces both Solomon and his wise sayings. The Bible says God gave King Solomon great wisdom and he spoke 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:29-34). Three collections of these are found in Proverbs (chapters 1-9; 10-24; 25-29; while chapters 30-31 are attributed to others). Just for the record, adding up all the verses in all these chapters totals far less than one-third of the original 3,000 proverbs he spoke.   

Frequently in Proverbs Solomon addresses his insights to “my son” (see 1:8). While this was an ancient literary technique of wisdom literature, it is still appropriate to understand it as father-to-son advice. This is guy talk – appropriate man-to-man locker-room talk – about life. But also note that the last chapter of the book comes from the king’s mother – momma always gets the last word! 

One of the greatest lessons of Proverbs does not come from any verse in the book. Instead, it is the reality that Solomon, who spoke all these great truths from the wisdom God gave him, actually quit practicing them, himself. And when he did, his life and entire kingdom suffered. 

You may have known a wonderful spiritual leader or teacher who lived and taught Biblical principles for many years. But, at some point, something happened and they quit practicing what they preached – with disastrous consequences. It is just not enough to know (or even originate) these spiritual truths. We must continue to practice them – one day at a time.