Jesus Stopped to Think
Over the next month, Time With God will be studying the book of Proverbs. Although we will read an entire chapter each day, the study questions in Digging Deeper will focus on select verses addressing a specific topic.
Chapter 8 in the book of John tells the story of Jesus, the Pharisees, and an adulterous woman. The Pharisees, in an attempt to trap Jesus, brought a woman caught in adultery to him and asked whether she should be stoned to death as the Law required. Jesus paused, bent down, and wrote in the dirt with his finger as they hounded him for an answer. He stood up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then, he bent back to the ground and continued writing in the dirt until all the Pharisees had left him alone with the woman.
You might wonder what this event has to do with our study of Proverbs. But as you read through the chapter below, take note of how Jesus epitomized these wise sayings in his dealings with others.
Read the Word
Proverbs 18 (ESV)
18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
3 When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
and with dishonor comes disgrace.
4 The words of a man's mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked
or to deprive the righteous of justice.
6 A fool's lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.
7 A fool's mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.
8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
9 Whoever is slack in his work
is a brother to him who destroys.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
11 A rich man's wealth is his strong city,
and like a high wall in his imagination.
12 Before destruction a man's heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
14 A man's spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man's gift makes room for him
and brings him before the great.
17 The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
18 The lot puts an end to quarrels
and decides between powerful contenders.
19 A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
20 From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.
23 The poor use entreaties,
but the rich answer roughly.
24 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 2, 6-7, 13, and 21.)
- What word is used three times to describe those who do what Proverbs counsels against (vss. 2, 6, 7)?
- What are the fruits found in the power of the tongue (vs. 21)? Would others describe your words as life-giving?
- In what does a fool take pleasure (vs. 2)? Do you rush to express your point of view before first seeking to understand those around you?
- In verse 13, what waits for a man who answers before he hears?
- In verse 7, a fool’s lips are said to be “a snare to his soul.” What does this mean?
Respond to God
As we interact with others, how often do we stop to “write in the dirt” before we speak? In Jesus’ response to the Pharisees, we see his perfect embodiment of the wisdom in the book of Proverbs, and a model for how we should (and should not) use our voice. In this world of 24-hour commentary via the Internet and social networking, we are all one click away from ruin. But how would the world look if we stopped, took a breath, listened to understand, and said a short prayer before we spoke?
- Ask Jesus to help you be quick to listen and slow to speak today.