If you struggle with anger, or have to deal with someone who does, you may know how destructive this sin can be. The book of Proverbs has several insights into the nature of anger and how to handle it.
Top 10 Reasons to Read Proverbs and Teach It to Your Kids
I’ve read through the book of Proverbs in the Bible many times and have greatly benefited from all the wise counsel. But a while ago I thought to myself, “Why am I not teaching the riches of the wisdom in this book to my kids?” Maybe you have wondered how Proverbs can benefit you and your family.
So why should you learn Proverbs and teach it to your kids? The wisdom offered in Proverbs is extremely valuable and said to be worth more than gold or silver. Proverbs is actually written by a parent speaking to a child to help them live successfully in God’s world. Proverbs will help kids know how to enjoy life without making decisions that can ruin them. These wise sayings are easy to remember and will help protect kids from evil influences and foolish choices.
I think every parent wants those things for their children and Proverbs has even more to offer than that. Read on for our top 10 reasons Proverbs will help you and your child live wisely and avoid big mistakes most people make that really hurt them.
#10 – The Wisdom of Proverbs is Extremely Valuable
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”
– Proverbs 3:13–15
How many of your kids like money? Mine are always looking for ways to earn extra money to buy what they want.
But think about this – If you were to offer your kids $20 or a piece of wise advice, which one would your kids take?
I think most kids would take the $20 without a second thought. But why would they do that if your advice was worth far more than that? It’s probably because they don’t understand the value properly.
Let’s ask a similar question but framed in a different way.
If your kids had to choose between getting $1,000,000 and dying next year, or a long life full of peace and happiness, which would they take?
I think this question would make your kids think quite a bit harder. $1,000,000 is a lot but who wants to die in a year? Plus long life with peace and happiness sounds a lot better anyway.
You know what? Proverbs says that the wisdom in the book leads to a long life full of peace and blessedness. Let’s look at the next few verses that follow the statement above about Proverbs being valuable:
“Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.“
– Proverbs 3:16-18
This is why the wisdom in Proverbs is so valuable. Money can only get you so much. Wisdom can get you so much more including peace and happiness which is something the world’s richest people often don’t find.
Here’s the point – Wisdom offers far more than money can buy.
#9 – The Book of Proverbs Was Written for Young People
The book of Proverbs starts with a father teaching his sons wisdom. In fact, 19 times in the first 7 chapters a parent is addressing their child or children with wise counsel.
- Proverbs 1:8 – “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching”
- Proverbs 1:10 – “My son, if sinners entice you…”
- Proverbs 1:15 – “My son, do not walk with them…”
- Proverbs 2:1 – “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you…”
- Proverbs 3:1 – “My son, do not forget my teaching…”
- Proverbs 3:11 – “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof”
- Proverbs 3:21 – “My son, do not lose sight of these…”
- Proverbs 4:1 – “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction…”
- Proverbs 4:10 – “Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many”
- Proverbs 4:20 – “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.”
- Proverbs 5:1 – “My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding”
- Proverbs 5:7 – “And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.”
- Proverbs 5:20 – “Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman”
- Proverbs 6:1 – “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor…”
- Proverbs 6:3 – “then do this, my son, and save yourself”
- Proverbs 6:20 – “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching”
- Proverbs 7:1 – “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you”
- Proverbs 7:24 – “And now, O sons, listen to me”
- Proverbs 8:32 – “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways”
This also suggests it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children wisdom. Don’t outsource your parenting responsibilities!
Our children will learn by listening to us and watching us whether we like it or not. The only question is –
“What are we teaching them: wisdom or foolishness?”
#8 – Proverbs are Easy to Remember
You can probably easily fill in the rest of these common proverbs:
- “An apple a day…”
- “A picture is worth…”
How were you able to finish these proverbs? Because they are spoken often, they are memorable, and they are meaningful enough to stick with you.
This is part of the genius of a proverb. Its teaching value for its size is immense!
Proverbs are designed to convey wisdom or insight in a short, memorable saying. This makes them great for teaching kids.
Here is an example of a proverb that would be great for kids:
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
– Proverbs 12:1
Now why would this proverb be memorable and useful for a child?
- Kids will probably think it is funny that the Bible uses the word “stupid”
- Every kid naturally hates discipline. This proverb is totally relevant for them!
- There is a strong contrast between the person who wisely accepts discipline and the foolish person who doesn’t.
#7 – Proverbs Help Protect From Evil Influences and Self-Inflicted Wounds
Think about all the terrible mistakes that kids make. Think back to the mistakes you or your siblings or your friends made when they were kids. Could many of these mistakes been avoided through better choices?
Kids need wisdom to avoid making choices that they will regret for the rest of their lives. Here are some general areas proverbs teaches about that is very relevant for kids and teenagers.
- The Danger of Hanging Out with Wicked People – Proverbs exposes the true nature of wicked people and warns of the dangers of associating with them
- The Dangers of Intoxication – Alcohol (or intoxication) starts out smooth but bites you like a deadly snake in the end, cause you to say foolish things, affects your senses, can cause addiction (Proverbs 22:33-35)
- Theft and Murder (Gang Activity) – Warning against those who want you to join in to get easy money through violence (Proverbs 1:8-19)
- Extramarital Sex (Adultery in Particular) – Proverbs warns that the enticing words of the adulteress leads to death (Proverbs 2:16-19, 5:1-23, 6:20-35, 7:1-27).
- Anger/Quarreling, Envy, Evil Speech, Foolishness, Greed, Lying, Laziness, Pride – All these issues come up repeatedly throughout the book of Proverbs.
Avoiding evil and self-inflicted wounds is a huge key to successful living. Our kids need wisdom and insight BEFORE they choose to make potentially horrendous decisions that affect the rest of their lives.
#6 – Proverbs are Designed to Help You Live Successfully in God’s World
God wants all of us to have his wisdom. How badly does He want this for us? So badly that wisdom is poetically given human form and displayed as a woman continually calling out for everyone to listen to what she has to offer:
“Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”
– Proverbs 8:1–11
Who is Lady Wisdom calling out to? All people (“children of man”).
How often is she giving her message? Continually. It is a message that is always available in the Bible.
Why does God do this? It’s because He wants us to flourish in His world and not fail.
If you look carefully in the passage above, you will notice the following words associated with wisdom’s message – “true, noble, right, righteous, nothing twisted, knowledge, prudence, sense, insight.” Those are all positive, beneficial words that are trustworthy.
Also, look at the words that talk about the value of Wisdom’s message – “better than gold, jewels, or anything else to be desired.” That’s really valuable.
Proverbs is so valuable because it gives insight into:
- Great relationships (marriage, friends, business partners, etc.)
- Making wise choices
- How to get God’s favor and blessing
- How to learn from difficulties
- What good things we should desire and strive for
- Wise planning
- Good work ethic
- True profit
- How to be prudent and sensible
- How to speak wisely
- How to get wisdom
Doesn’t that sound like God wants us to live well and be blessed in this world?
#5 – Proverbs Help You Enjoy Life Without Ruining Yourself
Proverbs aren’t just about avoiding bad things. Proverbs also commends enjoying God’s good gifts while warning against using them improperly. For example you’ll find the following throughout the book:
- Enjoying wine/alcohol without getting intoxicated
- Earning wealth honestly, enjoying it, and being generous with it while avoiding greed and dishonest gain
- Enjoying God’s gift of sex in marriage and avoiding the dangers of adultery
- The value of marrying a godly person and avoiding the strife and misery of marrying poorly
- Choosing great friends and avoiding wicked and deceitful people that will hurt you
- Living in a way that earns you honor without being prideful and self-exalting
- Loving good things and not letting your heart love evil things
Do our kids need to know that God loves them and wants the very best for them?
Do they need to know that His commands are meant to bless them and not hurt them?
Do they need to understand that God has given good gifts to be enjoyed and not abused?
#4 – Proverbs Can Bring Some Clarity in the Midst of a Confusing World
Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t know why my life is so hard and bad things keep happening to me?” Have you ever wanted to say, “Well, I’ve been watching your life, and here are numerous foolish decisions you’ve made that you are now experiencing the consequences of”?
Proverbs explains that, generally speaking, God blesses wise and righteous living and punishes foolish and wicked living.
In other words, there are consequences for our actions, even if we don’t experience them right away.
Here are some examples:
“An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble.”
– Proverbs 12:13
Just open the news and see who has said something terrible and is now paying the consequences for it.
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”
– Proverbs 11:24
This seems very counter-intuitive that some generous people keep getting more money.
Proverbs also talks about consequences from actions in this life affecting one’s judgment by God:
“Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
– Proverbs 11:4
You can spend all your life getting rich but lose it all in the end. The wise person seeks the righteousness that only comes from Christ and is far more valuable than material wealth.
There is a caveat to this point. We need to be careful with this principle of consequences lest we fall into the kind of thinking that Job’s friends had that lead them to wrong conclusions concerning Job’s situation. They thought all the bad things happening to Job were a consequence of his sin which wasn’t the case at all. Some times good people suffer not because of any wrong they have done (like Jesus).
But generally speaking, there are consequences for foolish behavior and rewards for wise behavior even if it takes time for those things to come about (both in this life and the next). Our kids desperately need to understand that choices matter.
#3 – Proverbs Help You Pick Great People to Associate With
There are lots of contrasts between different groups of people in Proverbs:
- The Wicked vs The Righteous
- The Foolish vs The Wise
- The Proud vs The Humble
- The Sluggard vs The Diligent
- The Contentious Wife vs The Godly Wife
The point is this:
Who we associate ourselves with matters! We need to pick our friends, partners, spouse CAREFULLY and WISELY!
So many people get into trouble with their relationships. Kids need to be taught early on the kinds of people they should become friends with and who they should avoid. And it is never too soon to teach them what kind of person they should marry!
#2 – Proverbs Teach You How to Please God
This is God’s world, and Proverbs teaches us how to live in it in a way that pleases our Creator.
Proverbs teaches us what God values and what God hates. For instance:
“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.“
– Proverbs 11:1
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.“
– Proverbs 12:22
Do kids need to learn that God hates lying and deceit? Absolutely! But they also need to know that God delights in honesty.
There are a lot more things proverbs teaches about what God loves and God hates. A child’s relationship with God is their most important relationship. They need to know how to please God with their choices so they can see evil for what it really is.
#1 – Proverbs Point to Christ, the Wisdom of God
We’ve saved the best for last. All of God’s wisdom is ultimately found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:21-24
How does the wisdom in Proverbs point to Jesus Christ?
- Righteousness, which is so highly esteemed in Proverbs, is not possible without the righteousness of Christ given to us through faith in who He is and what He accomplished on the cross.
- Living in a way that is pleasing to God, and living successfully in his world, is impossible without being transformed by Christ.
- Christ is the embodiment of God’s wisdom. His life and teachings present wisdom to the world in a way that is found in no other. In Jesus we see God’s perfect wisdom lived out.
Only Jesus fully pleased God in every way.
and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
– Matthew 3:17
Ultimately, no one can live wisely in the world or fully please God without a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
If you aren’t sure if you have a right relationship with God, or if you aren’t sure if your kids do, read our article on the topic. It’s the most important thing we can tell you about.
Is the book of Proverbs valuable for kids? Absolutely!
Hopefully you are encouraged to learn about this book to gain wisdom for yourself and for your kids. Mom or Dad, your kids need you to teach them and live out God’s wisdom. You can do it!
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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