PROVERBS & PARABLES
in the New Testament
this will be a continuing study, subject to the
will of the Lord, and material will be added
as time and opportunity allows..it is we truly
believe a vital and significant study for us all
The key to this fascinating and vital subject lies in the Book of
Proverbs, but its inception lies in the beginning, at Creation.
In fact, the theme to which it belongs, the seven stages of the
purpose of Almighty God to fill this earth with His glory, is also
epitomized in the 7-fold divisions of the Old and the New Testa-
ments. These sections are exactly parallel, and are set forth in
'The Structure of the Bible' - link here. These same principles
must be seen also in the lives of true disciples, and this is em-
emphasized in the 'Structure' page, and demonstrated in:
'The 8 'Signs' of the Gospel of John' - link here.
Also, whilst waiting for more pages to appear, please consider
the suggested sections of Proverbs, which we consider to be very
important in our endeavours to comprehend its vital messages..
CHAPTER 1v1-7 – Introduction to the Book
CHAPTER 1v8-3v35 – The 7 Pillars of Wisdom – Doctrine
CHAPTER 4v1-9v18 – The 7 Pillars of Wisdom – Practice
CHAPTER 10v1-31v31 – The Doctrinal, Practical, & Pro-
phetical Enlargement of the Above Sections
Besides the above 4 Sections, we also believe there to be
7 Sub-Sections within each, which we hope to cover during
the course of our exposition, if the Lord will. The most import-
ant thing we find is the use made of Proverbs by the Lord
Jesus Christ and His Apostles in the New Testament. It is a
high privilege indeed to be given a Divine commentary!
This in no way depends on the suggested sections of Proverbs
set out above. However, their general outline we strongly be-
lieve to be correct, and they are useful for orientation.
In particular, and with reference to ch.10v1 onwards, the
following assessment of this section is useful:
"By now the reader is in a position to orientate himself in the
thicket of individual sayings...and to see in each cool, objective
aphorism a miniature and particular outworking of the wis-
dom and folly whose whole course he has seen spread out be-
fore him in Section I" - Kidner, p.23, quoted 'The New Bible
Commentary Revised', page 559.
Of course, like all writers who are unfamiliar with the Truth, it
is impossible for him to realise the full import of these things-
but with the knowledge of God's will, we can hope to succeed…
Let us make an introductory comment for your consideration:
The Book of Proverbs contains Hebrew poetry which is based
upon a PARALLELISM OF IDEAS. There are 3 types:
A. synonymous parallelisms, as in ch.8v1:
i.e. the 2nd parallelism restates the first, but by variation.
B. constructive parallelisms, as in ch.3v11,12:
i.e. the 2nd parallelism builds upon the first, reinforcing it.
C. antithetic parallelisms, as in ch.10v1:
i.e. the 2nd parallelism contrasts starkly with the first.
The next thing is to define a 'proverb' and a 'parable'.
A 'proverb' is defined as "a pithy maxim, usually of a meta-
phorical nature; hence a simile, figurative language, an all-
egory, or an adage". It comes from a Hebrew root word
meaning "to rule". And as the diligent viewer will realise,
it is by comprehending these proverbs that we may be en-
abled to rule over the flesh(which is the message of Proverbs,
placed as it is in the 6th section of the Old Testament,refer to
'structure' for more details).
A 'parable' is really an extended proverb, and that is how it
appears in the New Testament.It is defined as a "fictitious na-
rrative, conveying a moral (lesson)". We shall see how Jesus
Christ and His apostles use the Old Testament proverbs, and
build narratives upon them , with important lessons for us.
We now intend to embark, if it is the Lord's will, upon the de-
tailed exposition of this beautiful and glorious subject. The
method of presentation will be unusual, but we think fitting
and of great benefit to those viewers who desire to learn of
the ways of God as revealed, especially relative to our times.
The original studies on this subject were given in a series
of 8 parts, over 8 nights, from 1 September 1976 to 15 De-
cember 1976. It is proposed to summarise this matter in the
sequence in which it was presented - with some additions that
are appropriate, and which have been ascertained since from
God's Holy Word. We are now on the brink of Christ's return.
Might the number 8, pointing forward to perfection, be our
focus as we embark upon a glorious study of what is in truth
GOD'S MESSAGE FOR THESE LATTER DAYS
We give thanks to our Heavenly Father for now making the
way open for a much wider dissemination of this priceless &
vital information to a world-wide audience. May He add His
richest blessing in the time left by His grace and mercy.
THESE ARE THE STUDIES PRESENTED IN 1976
Night 1- 'An Introduction' - read Proverbs 1 v1-9.
Night 2- 'The Simple Ones'- read Proverbs 7.
Night 3- 'Scorners & Fools'- read Matthew 25v1-13.
Night 4- 'The Good Samaritan'- read Luke 10v25-37.
Night 5- 'Wisdom is a Tree of Life'- read Proverbs 3v1-18.
Night 6- 'The Heart is Deceitful
and Desperately Wicked'- read Proverbs 16v1-9.
Night 7- 'Seven things which
Yahweh hates'- read Proverbs 6v1-19.
Night 8- 'The 7 Divisions in the
Latter Days'- read Revelation 3.
STUDY 1 – AN INTRODUCTION
Firstly, we have a definition of 'proverb' and 'parable'.
Also the basic idea of a proverb or a parable is something
which is built upon a short pithy saying. It can become a
fable or an allegory..to give us many lessons in this wilder-
ness of life and our pilgrimage in Christ Jesus.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word 'mashal' signifies
superiority in mental action', properly a pithy maxim usually
of a metaphorical nature, hence a simile.
An allegory is a narrative in which abstract ideas are person-
ified. Example-Galatians 4v24 "which things are an allegory"
referring to Hagar representing Jerusalem which now is and
Sarai representing Jerusalem which is above. Hagar thus re-
veals the Old Covenant of the Law and those who are in bon-
dage. Sarai on the other hand reveals the New Covenant in
Christ and those who are free. Link to 'grace' for more.
And so an allegory is a story which has various ideas in it - a
description which is meant to convey a different meaning
though based upon that which is expressed.
Some will look earnestly for this hidden meaning, having the
aspect of a child - i.e. a desire to learn from the parent.This is
indispensable to the learning process - see Matthew 18v1-4.
Jesus explained why there are different reactions to His par-
ables and indeed why they are given - Matthew 13. Only
"the good ground" is able to receive and allow "the word
of the kingdom" to grow, and to ultimately bring forth fruit.
Robert Roberts made the following useful comments:
"That it is advantageous to "conceal a thing", while revealing
it, is also manifest from experience. A riddle is proverbially
more interesting than an aphorism. A parable stimulates dis-
cernment. A thing seen after the search provoked by obscurity
is seen more clearly, than if exhibited in a plain and direct ma-
nner in the first instance..there is always an inkling of the
meaning somewhere- -a clue by which the secret can be un-
locked,which those may find who are humbly anxious to find".
'More Seasons Of Comfort' - 'Use of Similitudes by God'.
An early example of 'proverb' and 'parable' is found in 2nd
Samuel 12v1-14.The "poor man" represented Uriah, the "ewe
lamb" represented Bathsheba, the "rich man" was David.
When Nathan the prophet told this parable to David, the king
could see that what the "rich man" of the story had done was
unjust, and deserved punishment. Nathan then said to him-
"thou art the man", thus driving home the purpose of this
parable - that David should apply the lesson to himself. And
this is the purpose of all parables, that we should apply the
lessons to ourselves. There is no benefit in reading these things
and not learning the lessons which we read. Should we fail to
do so, we would be like the hard-hearted listeners to Ezekiel -
"And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that
hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument:
for they hear thy words, but they do them not"- Ezekiel 33v32.
Also consider the words of James 1v22-25.
Let us instead apply the lessons to ourselves, so that we might
mend our waywardness before the Divine assessment shortly
to be rendered - for then it will be too late to do anything.
Let us realise that we individually, like David,
are the "men" and "women" of the parables.
We shall find various characters brought to our notice as we
traverse the Book of Proverbs, and as we clearly see the cha-
racteristics which they display, let us search inwardly to see
whether some of these things might well be applicable to our-
selves. In this way, we shall fulfil the essential purpose of the
narratives, and obtain victory over the nature which we bear.
And we know that we are saved by the grace of God -
Ephesians 2v5 through reconciliation in Christ-Romans5v11.
Returning to the Proverbs more directly, the book is summar-
ised as the story of two women - Wisdom and Folly.
Wisdom - ch.9v1-12 "Wisdom hath builded her house, she
hath hewn out her seven pillars".
Note the way in which Jesus Christ uses this proverb,by mak-
ing it the basis for a parable in Matthew7v24,25,commending
the "wise man"who"heareth these sayings of mine and doeth
them" as "like unto a wise man, which built his house upon a
rock.."which was then able to withstand all external troubles.
Folly - ch.9v13-18 "A foolish woman..sitteth at the door of her
house, on a seat in the high places of the city..the dead are
there..her guests are in the depths of hell".
Jesus Christ also expands thus - And every one that heareth
these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened
unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.."
which was then unable to withstand the external troubles.
These two "houses" each have 7 supports.
"Wisdom" has "seven pillars", and is built "upon a rock".
The "seven pillars" find expression in ch.1v2-6;1v8-9v18 -
also link to 'structure' re the seven principles involved.
"Folly" has the "seven things" - these "doth Yahweh hate"
- ch.6v16-19. These support "her house", ch.7v8;9v14.
Look at the contrast between the two contained in ch.3v33-
"The curse of Yahweh is in the house of the wicked; but he
blesseth the habitation of the just". The separation of these
two "houses" is stark,and the choice we must make is clear.
We have to make the choice, as to which "woman" we shall
follow. One woman, "wisdom", will form the accepted Bride
of Christ at His return. The other, "folly", will be condemned
to destruction at that same tribunal. Let us picture ourselves
in the company of "wisdom" as "the virgins her companions"
Psalm 45v14, who "with gladness and rejoicing shall enter
into the king's palace",v15. For more on the contrast, link to
Returning for a moment to the "seven pillars" of "wisdom" -
in our resume of the construction of ch.1v8 to 9v18 inclusive:
we notice that both doctrine and practice are included.
The change of emphasis is found in ch.4v2,4 - "For I give
you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law…….Let thine heart
retain my words: keep my commandments and live". Eph.4v1
shows the same graphic change of emphasis - "therefore
walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called".And we
are reminded of James 2v26: "Faith without works is dead".
Purity before peace is essential to both, Matt. 5v8,9; James
3v17. Some have tried to invert this order, which has resulted
in the instability and ultimate destruction of their work.
Building the foundations is not easy work. And maintaining
and caring for them is even harder. If the wall of fellowship
(the protection of the Truth) is broken down, it becomes im-
possible to protect them from ever-ready predators,Psalm 80.
"If the foundations be destroyed, what
can the righteous do?" - Psalm 11v3.
The purpose of the extended proverbs (called parables) in the
New Testament is set out in Matthew 13v9 -
"Who hath ears to hear, let him hear". This immediately
reminds us of the verse appearing 7 times in Revelation 2&3:
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto
the ecclesias". Those who do hearken to and obey the words
of the spirit in all ages will form part of the 8th ecclesia -
the perfected body of Christ - link to 'messages' page 3.
The disciples ask Jesus in Matthew 13v10 -
"Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"
And the Lord proceeds to explain that this does two things:
Those numbered amongst the disciples of Christ will learn,
but those who oppose Him will not understand. This latter
class "are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed"
because "this people's heart is waxed gross". See v11-17.
This does not mean that they outwardly oppose the Truth-
far from it - as in the days of Jesus, the greatest enemy,
termed 'the satan', is found amongst those claiming to rep-
pecially to Smyrna, Sardis, and Philadelphia. The twin
evils of laxity and extremity - link to 'appeal' - continue
unabated to this day, as shown in 'messages' above.
However, as Jesus also tells us -
"But wisdom is justified of her children" - Matthew 11v19.
These children of wisdom are able to add to what they have
- others will lose what they seem to have, Matthew 13v12.
We can build each pillar, being supported as we do so upon
the "rock" of wisdom. "For a just man falleth seven times,
and riseth up again" - ch.24v16. We may stumble as we try
to build each pillar, but "by grace are (we) saved".However
"the wicked shall fall (utterly) into mischief".
Cp Psalm 37v23,24 - "a good man...though he fall, he shall
not be utterly cast down: for Yahweh upholdeth him…".
We know that God has already built the "pillars". It is our
calling to emulate them within ourselves. To do this without
error we must closely observe the Divine pattern. In the
boundless mercy of God,we may become "an householder,
which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new (in us)
and old (found from "the beginning" in God's holy word)"-
Matthew 13v52 - note the key is to be "instructed".
In the second part of these studies we shall look at various
classes of people we meet in the Book of Proverbs. The main
three to come to our gaze will be the simple, the scoffer, and
the fool - as set forth in ch.1v22,23. These will not inherit the
Kingdom of God. Let us, as stated earlier, search inwardly
to see if what we learn can apply to us - and if so make the
necessary corrections while there is still time. Our calling is
to be sons and daughters (through wisdom) of the living God.
The issues are vital - life and death. We must pursue wisdom
for ourselves, within the heart, for that is where the ultimate
battle with the flesh must be fought and won.
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues
of life" - ch.4v23. Also let us judge ourselves by the Divine
standard cp.ch.16v2 - "All the ways of a man are clean in his
own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits"*. And v3 -
"Commit thy works unto Yahweh,
and thy thoughts shall be established"
*note the following allusion from the Apostle Paul:
"For I know nothing by (RV "against") myself; yet am I not
hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord".
1st Corinthians 4v4.
David asked "who can understand his errors?" & prayed
"cleanse thou me from secret faults" - Psalm 19v12.
Those who share his sentiments will enjoy these studies.