Sunday Sermonizing: The Book of Proverbs is Like a Sour Patch Kid
The practice of reading and meditating on Scripture has been a part of my personal spirituality for a long time. Years ago, when I was teaching the Bible every week, it was by necessity - I had to show up on Sunday.
But it is an ongoing habit for which I'm grateful to this day.
My practice has always been, with few exceptions, to get through the entire Bible in a year. There are several reading plans which are helpful for this activity. I don't know if it's because I'm easily distracted or if I just find spice in variety, as they say, but I like the plans which take the reader through the various Biblical genres on a daily basis.
A little History. A little law. A little poetry. A little Gospel. It feels well rounded.
This year is turning out differently, however. At least for now.
Since January 1, I've been parked in the Book of Proverbs.
Stuck on Wisdom
Several years back, on the advice of a friend, I spent several months reading through the entire book of Proverbs a chapter per day. With 31 chapters, you get through the entire book 7 months out of the year.
I did this again for nearly an entire year, while working in Mongolia and writing my Masters dissertation. I don't know why, but the rhythm was helpful during an incredibly busy and stressful time.
In fact, as a result from that period of diving into Proverbs, I wrote a book and gave it to my son for his 21st birthday - the culmination of time in this book of wisdom.
This year - I'm sort of re-re-rediscovering Proverbs.
While still doing my daily reading on the same monthly cycle (31 chapters = 1 chapter per day for 1 month), I'm taking a different - and I believe better - approach to this important book. Here are few tips to meditating on Proverbs, which maybe you'll find helpful.
Proverbs is not meant to be read cover-to-cover
While I am doing this - and will continue doing this - it's important to recognize that Proverbs is a book of nuggets and cumulative wisdom. The value of reading in typical cover-to-cover fashion is to pick up on the themes. However, this is not a book to be exegeted in the same way a Pauline epistle might be. That would be because ...
Each Wisdom saying (Proverb) is meant to be meditated on
That's what I'm doing this year. As I read each chapter in the morning, one or two "proverbs" - or verses as the case may be - will grab my attention. Write those down in a journal and give them more thought. Proverbs is a lot like Sour Patch Kids candy (Apparently. I've actually never tried them. This is what I've been told.), with one flavor changing to another flavor as it's allowed to ruminate in your mind.
Proverbs eliminates secular and sacred lines
This may be one of the things I love most about this book. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom" can be coupled with verses about laziness and high finance. A CEO, waiter, and a preacher can each read and meditate on the wisdom of Proverbs and all benefit deeply. And Proverbs gives us profound insight into the nature and character of God.
Would love to know what your Bible reading practice is. Don't have one? No worries - maybe get started with reading a chapter from the Book of Proverbs every day for a month. It really can change your perspective.
And your life.