All people ultimately ask at some point in their lives: how should I live my life? The book of Proverbs answers that question.
It is essentially a guidebook of relationships, telling us how to relate to our world and each other. The word “proverb” means “to be like”, and thus it is a book of comparisons between concrete images and profound truths. It is a book of metaphors, of comparisons between opposing ideas.
The prime theme of this outstanding work is wisdom contrasted with folly. Wisdom is the knowledge of, the understanding of, and the obedience to – the laws of God, as played out in human life. Foolishness is everything else.
Mankind’s relationship to God
Mankind’s relationship to himself
Mankind’s relationship to others
In Proverbs, we find a solid treatise on theology, with an angle on practical righteousness. Mankind’s relationship to God is emphasized in how man views God’s laws, how he responds to those laws, and how his responses affect his life.
The book discusses how one relates to himself: in character, in speech, in money, and many other facets of one’s life. Proverbs shows how that relationship will determine happiness and satisfaction and peace… or the reverse.
Finally, it gives rich instruction on how we should relate to one another, as people. The roles of members in a family and the relationships between friends are qualified, showing how certain actions breed peace and love, while others destroy it.
Proverbs is not a book of absolutes. It is not a book of inflexible laws. Rather, it is a work of general truth, meaning that while there are specific exceptions to principles found therein (as there are exceptions to most axioms of truth), the Proverbs clearly show the character of God and His blessings from striving to obey Him.
Ultimately, in the large scheme of things, the rules and principles found in Proverbs prove true. Every life that follows these concepts receives the benefits of them, in this life, and in the one to come.