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  • Jon Akin

Preaching Proverbs (Series)


Proverbs presents Jesus in at least two ways: 1) he is the son who grows in wisdom and 2) he is the Wisdom of God. Thus, a relationship with him is vital to walk in wisdom. Proverbs 1-9 urge the reader to get that relationship, and 10-31 shows the wisdom He produces. Due to the repetitive and seemingly random nature of Proverbs after chapter 9, it is difficult to do a verse-by-verse exposition of the book. Scholars have attempted organization strategies, but I have found them unconvincing. So, I take a hybrid approach to preaching the book. I do verse-by-verse exposition with the periscopes that are clearly units.


Expository Sermons

  • Proverbs 1:1-7 “The Introduction”

  • Proverbs 1:8-19 “Avoid Greed At All Cost”

  • Proverbs 1:20-33 “Wisdom is a Person Not a Thing”

  • Proverbs 2:1-22 “Whose Voice Will You Listen To?”

  • Proverbs 3:1-12 “Does Proverbs Promise Too Much of the Wrong Thing?

  • Proverbs 3:13-35 “Blessing and Cursing”

  • Proverbs 4:1-19 “Wisdom is a Person and a Path”

  • Proverbs 4:20-27 “Your Heart is the Command Center for your Life”

  • Proverbs 5-7 “Avoiding Honey Lips”

  • Proverbs 8:1-36 “Wisdom is Jesus”

  • Proverbs 9:1-18 “Which Invitation Will You Accept?”

  • Proverbs 10:1-11:31 “The Righteous, The Wicked, and Their Fate”

The sermon on Proverbs 10-11 is an example of how to preach the one or two-line (seemingly random) pithy sayings in an expository and gospel-centered way. It might get tedious if you did all of Proverbs 10-29 in this way, so I gave one sermon as an example. There are other verse-by-verse sermons that can be done in Proverbs or you could tackle them as part of a thematic series (as I did below). A few examples would be: 1) Proverbs 15:30-16:15 “Your Plans or God’s Plans” (the keywording of the text seems to indicate it is a periscope), 2) Proverbs 30 and 31 are prophetic oracles that when compared with 9:10 show the expectation for a future king who will choose Wisdom as his bride.


In addition to preaching the sections that lend themselves easily to verse-by-verse exposition, one can preach thematic or topical series in Proverbs. In this approach you can group the proverbs on a particular theme or topic. Since I believe that Proverbs is Solomon obeying Deuteronomy 6 (teach the law to your kids) and 17 (the king is to be a man of the law), trying to train his son to become the ideal king, it makes sense that large parts of the book are random. As parents, we don’t teach our kids everything they need to know on a topic in one-sitting, but rather randomly and throughout life (just as Deuteronomy 6 suggests). Proverbs is set up that way, but preaching a series, I think, requires a more thematic approach. Here are some that I’ve done.


Keys to Interpreting Proverbs:

  • Sermon 1-“Fear of the Lord vs. Fear of Man”(Prov. 29:25)

  • Sermon 2-“Humility vs. Pride” (Prov. 11:2)

  • Sermon 3-“Learn from Your Mistakes” (Prov 26:11)

  • Sermon 4-“The Word of God” (Prov 30:1-6)

Riddle Me This: Unlocking the Hard Proverbs

  • Sermon 1-Proverbs 22:6 “Train Up a Child…”

  • Sermon 2-Proverbs 26:4-5 “Answer a fool; Don’t answer a fool”

  • Sermon 3-Proverbs 12:21 “The Righteous Don’t Suffer or Go Hungry?”

  • Sermon 4-Proverbs 30:11-33 “The Numerical Sayings”

Words: The Power of the Tongue

  • Sermon 1-“The Heart is the Command Center of the Tongue” (Prov 4:20-27)

  • Sermon 2-“The Power of the Tongue” (Prov 18:21 and others)

  • Sermon 3-“Harmful Speech” (i.e. lying, gossip, slander, etc) (26:18-28; 24:24; 21:6; 11:13; 17:9)

  • Sermon 4-“Listening is Better Than Speaking” (15:22; 12:15; 15:5; 10:19; 17:27-28; 18:2; etc)

  • Sermon 5-“How to Confront Wisely” (27:5-6; 26:17; 10:12; 15:1; 16:21; 25:11-12)

  • Sermon 6-“Prayer” (Proverbs 15:29)

Relationships

  • Sermon 1-“Wise Manhood” (i.e. Men as husbands, dads and workers)

  • Sermon 2-“Wise Womanhood” (i.e. wives, moms and homebuilders) (Proverbs 31)

  • Sermon 3-“How to Have a Happy Home” (Proverbs 15:16-17; 17:1)

  • Sermon 4-“Instructing and Correcting Children” (Proverbs 23:13-14; 29:15)

  • Sermon 5-“Friends: The Company You Keep” (Prov 13:20)

  • Sermon 6-“Social Justice: How Do You Treat the Poor and Vulnerable?” (Prov 14:31)

Money

  • Sermon 1-“In God We Trust Not Money” (Prov 11:28)

  • Sermon 2-“Generosity vs Stinginess” (Prov 22:9; 28:27)

  • Sermon 3-“The Wise Use of Money: How to Spend, Save, and Invest for the Future” (6:1-11)

  • Sermon 4-“Your Fate is More Important Than Your Fortune” (Prov 11:4; 15:27)

The 7 Deadly Follies

  • Sermon 1-“Wrath” (20:22; 24:17-18; 25:21-22)

  • Sermon 2-“Greed” (11:24-28)

  • Sermon 3-“Sloth” (24:30-34)

  • Sermon 4-“Pride” (16:18)

  • Sermon 5-“Lust” (23:26-28)

  • Sermon 6-“Envy” (14:30)

  • Sermon 7-“Gluttony” (23:19-21)

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