What is a Proverb? | Proverbs’ Role in Society

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What is a Proverb? | Proverbs’ Role in Society

Post  LivinginChrist on Wed 19 Aug 2009, 5:30 pm

This post was written by Anthony Delgado on August 29, 2008

What is a Proverb?
Proverbs play a big role in most societies whether we recognize it or not. What is a proverb? American Heritage Dictionary describes a proverb as “A short pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a basic truth or practical precept.” These are anything that people say that demonstrate some sort of truth about their society or morality, but they usually incorporate literary devices such as metaphor, alliteration or rhyming in order to make them ‘catch phrases’. Here is an example of an American Proverb.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

This means it is better to keep the little bit you have than to risk it all for something more.

What does the Bible have to say about the usefulness of proverbs?

To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:2-7 NAS

The proverbs of the Bible are for wisdom. They are instructions on how to live that are in accordance with God’s wisdom. Here is an example.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.
Proverbs 12:1

This proverb is a contrast. It says that you must love discipline if your seek knowledge. Reproof is criticism or conviction on a matter. Stupid in this context means without knowledge. So if you are not disciplined, then you do not wish to be convicted of your iniquities and also hate knowledge. The wise man is disciplined, open to reproof and will be intelligent because of it.

Article Source: eInquisitive

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