Using the Proverbs in Side-By-Side Ministry

Using the Proverbs in Side-By-Side Ministry

Ephesians 4:16 teaches us that every member of the body of Christ is used by Christ to supply the other members what they need to become like Christ. That means that every member of Faith Bible Church has a vital ministry to others.

We are focusing on encouraging this informal, “side-by-side” ministry among all the members of Faith Bible Church. As we walk alongside each other, we need to live out the wisdom of Christ and speak the wisdom of Christ to each other. The book of Proverbs equips us to walk the path of wisdom, fearing the Lord, and to help others to walk that same path.

Here are some ideas for how you can use the book of Proverbs in your side-by-side ministry.

Sing the songs of Proverbs 1-9.

Become familiar with the 8 songs of Proverbs 1-9 (1:8-19, 1:20-33, 2:1-22, 3:1-4:27, 5:1-6:35, 7:1-27, 8:1-36, 9:1-18). These songs teach us to fear the Lord by seeking to walk the path of wisdom. They show us how beautiful and wonderful the path of wisdom is and how dangerous and deceptive the path of folly is.

Choosing one of these songs to read with a friend is one way you could use these songs to minister to others. Read the whole song, talk about what you learn about walking the path of wisdom and avoiding the path of folly, and think together about how to apply the song to your own thinking and living.

Another way to use these songs is to adapt one of them and speak it in a conversation with someone. For example, if your neighbor is complaining about porch pirates, you could adapt Proverbs 1:8-19 and talk about how King Solomon had experience with pirates too.

“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason …
We shall find all precious goods,
we shall fill our houses with plunder.’ …
Do not walk in the way with them.”
– Proverbs 1:10-11,13,15

This song shows us how greedy people can be and how ugly that greed is. We take comfort from his song about pirates, because we see that they will actually be destroyed by their own devices. “Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors” (v. 19). They will get their own medicine in the end, because God sees all, even what your Ring camera misses. God will execute justice on judgment day.

You could also jump to the next song, 1:20-33, and point out how wisdom offers these pirates an offramp from the path of greed, but they reject the fear of the Lord. As a result, wisdom will laugh at them when they are being destroyed by their own choices.

Can you imagine using the song of Proverbs 5 or 7 as you talk with your child or friend about the dangers of sexual immorality? Or, as you discuss the beauty of God’s creation, adapt some of the song of Proverbs 8, remembering how wisdom is God’s instrument to create all the amazing things we see.

Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I (wisdom) was brought forth,
before he had made the earth with its fields,
or the first of the dust of the world.
When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always.
– Proverbs 8:25-27, 30

Develop the skill of retelling or re-singing these songs of wisdom as you walk beside others.

Speak the wise riddles of Proverbs 10-31.

Solomon did not write traditional riddles, but the design of the proverbs is similar to a riddle in the way that two (or sometimes four) lines are related to each other in a mysterious way.

The design is such that the hearers would consider how the lines are related. Is the second line repeating what the first line says? Is it contrasting it? Is it developing the idea of the first line even further? Is it painting a comparison, saying “this is like that”?

As you think about the relationship between the two (or more) lines, you begin to enter into a deeper riddle or mystery. As one who fears God and is seeking to obey God, what skill for living life does this proverb teach me? How is the proverb training me to live my life in a way that loves God and loves my neighbor?

For example, with someone you are seeking to encourage, you could consider Proverbs 12:16: “The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” We see here a contrast between a fool and a prudent person (someone who is wise and is good at making plans).

Ask questions: When was the last time you saw someone letting everyone else know right away how frustrated or angry they were? When was the last time you gave full vent to your vexation immediately? Share examples from your own life.

Then talk about how it is possible that someone could ignore an insult. What does fearing the Lord and understanding His justice and role as King and Judge of the world have to do with the ability to ignore an insult? What does understanding your own position in God’s family and your relationship to God have to do with ignoring an insult?

Discuss why the proverb you are considering is true and what it looks like to live it out. This proverb shows us two related things, something to avoid (foolish venting of anger) and something to pursue (prudent patience with insults). Some proverbs will teach one of these lessons at a time.

What about speaking to those who do not know Christ? Just like with the songs of Proverbs 1-9, the statements of Proverbs 10-31 can be very useful in pursuing ministry to your friends who do not know Christ.

Consider how you could use Proverbs 12:25: “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Ask your friend, what is weighing you down or making you feel anxious? How is that anxiety or weight affecting you? Share with your friend the good word from God’s Word that makes you glad in the face of the burdens and anxieties of life. How does knowing the Lord and fearing Him lift the weights and take away the anxieties of your life? Share that good news about the Spirit’s presence, Christ’s understanding, the Father’s forgiveness, and all the hope that you have in the Gospel.

You have an important ministry to so many people! Let the wisdom of the book of Proverbs equip you to minister well to others with whom you are walking side by side!

Nathan Thiry

Nathan Thiry is the Growth Groups & Outreach Pastor at Faith Bible Church. He enjoys biking and outdoor activities, and has a passion to see the gospel spread throughout our community and the whole world!

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