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Monday, 29 February 2016 18:25

Take the 31-Day Proverbs Challenge

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The number one best-selling book of all time, and the most widely-translated book, is the Bible. However, while the Bible is a book, that is only part of the story. It is also a collection of many books. In fact, the word Bible has the word stem bibli, which means "books," as in bibliography or biblioth¨que, the French word for library. Jews and Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God; that is, the Bible is a divinely-inspired message from God to humans. And even non-religious people recognize that the Bible has had an enormous impact on much of the world, especially the West and particularly the United States of America.

Among the different books of the Bible, there is a wide variety of literary styles: history, poetry, songs, letters, prophecies are all examples of types found in the Bible. Another kind of style is a proverb, a short, pithy staying that teaches a deep meaning. In fact, one famous book of the Bible is called Proverbs. This book, we believe written primarily by the Jewish King Solomon, is found roughly in the middle of the Bible, right after the Book of Psalms. Unlike most of the Bible, which is comprised of long blocks of text, Proverbs is primarily short, wise sayings. Proverbs, along with the Books of Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, is among the "Wisdom Literature" of the Bible. Proverbs is designed to give practical insight and knowledge into daily matters. It is remarkable how, even though this book from the Ancient Middle East is close to 3,000 years old, much of it is remarkably relevant to us today in the modern world, for it deals with issues and situations most of us still face daily:

- handling money;
- making plans;
- seeking advice;
- selecting words carefully;
- making wise versus foolish choices;
- managing family relationships;
- dealing with conflict
- choosing work ethic versus laziness;
- etc.

The Book of Proverbs also has 31 chapters, which is convenient, because many months have 31 days. Therefore, many people like to read one chapter from this book a day, corresponding to the day of the month. So, on the first day of the month, they read Proverbs chapter 1, and so on. It it my understanding that Abraham Lincoln had that habit, and his wisdom is legendary.

 

We should note that Proverbs usually deals with life as it generally is, not by offering air-tight, iron-clad guarantees. Here is one example:

"Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." (Proverbs 10: 4).

We probably all know exceptions to this: lazy people who are wealthy, and diligent ones who are poor. Still, the general rule applies: the harder you work, the more income you usually generate.

How do I get stated?

Find a copy of the Bible. It may be in English, or in your own native language.

You can also find an online version here, offered in many languages. If you want to improve your language skills, you can even read it in two tongues, such as English and Chinese here.

Try to find a quiet place and consistent time to read 1 chapter a day. Some prefer early in the morning, others at lunch, others at night before bed. See what works best for your schedule.

Look for "nuggets" of wisdom, especially some that may relate to a particular issue you are dealing with.

You can usually read one chapter in about five minutes or less, so it's a small time investment that may yield big rewards for you.

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Recently I was thinking of a book to buy some important young adults in my life. I want them to have wisdom and make insightful choices, so when I found about this commentary on the Book of Proverbs, I bought it. If you think a book would help make Proverbs more understandable to you, you might want to get a copy too! 

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I am writing this blog post on February 29, 2016--Leap Year Day. That is, I am taking advantage of this once-in-four-years opportunity to encourage you to read the Book of Proverbs. Tomorrow is therefore March 1, 2016: which in the USA we call "Super Tuesday," because it is when voters in about a dozen states will vote for Republican and Democrat candidates for president. I am hearing from many people--both Democrats and Republicans alike--their dismay over the paltry options to choose from. "America is a stupid country" is a message I am seeing on facebook and elsewhere, as some voters decry the mess we are in. Well, if our problem is stupidity, and if the cure for stupidity is wisdom, and if the Book of Proverbs teaches wisdom...well, connect the dots and you will see that reading the Book of Proverbs may very help us all.

Read 362 times Last modified on Monday, 14 August 2017 23:18
Scott Dreyer

A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

dreyercoaching.com/en/about/scott-dreyer

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