In Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart’s Book How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, I found another gem too good not to share. All credit to these writers for the hard work they put into this book.
In chapter 12 of the above-mentioned book, the authors explain nine (9) rules that can help in understanding Proverbs. They are as follows: (for a deeper explanation I suggest reading the entire book, but ask in the comments and I will share more thoughts)
- Proverbs are often parabolic (i.e., figurative, pointing beyond themselves).
- Proverbs are intensely practical, not theoretically theological.
- Proverbs are worded to be memorable, not technically precise.
- Proverbs are not designed to support selfish behavior — Just the opposite!
- Proverbs strongly reflecting ancient culture may need sensible “translation” so as not to lose their meaning.
- Proverbs are not guarantees (Frank Turek uses the word Promises) from God but poetic guidelines for good behavior.
- Proverbs may use highly specific language, exaggeration, or any of a variety of literary techniques to make their point.
- Proverbs give good advice for wise approaches to certain aspects of life but are not exhaustive in their coverage.
- Wrongly used, proverbs may justify crass, materialistic lifestyle. rightly used, proverbs will provide practical advice for daily living.