July 1, 2009 by C.J. Mahaney
Categories: Preaching | Proverbs
As the book of Song of Solomon is a unique gift for married couples, the book of Proverbs is a unique gift for parents and children. For preachers looking to use the summer months to preach this unique book, here are a few tools that may be useful.
Preaching Proverbs in Calvary’s Shadow
It can be difficult to balance the call to obedience with the cross-centered life. Yet that is what William Arnot accomplishes in the final chapter of his old commentary on Proverbs, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth (published in 1873). The final chapter, “Faith and Obedience—Work and Rest,” models this balance well and I commend it to you.
You can read or download the entire commentary for free online. But you can download the isolated chapter I mention as a PDF here (0.9MB).
Of importance to the preacher of Proverbs is getting a handle on a few recurring themes and character developments featured in the book (i.e. wisdom, folly, discernment, understanding, knowledge). Derek Kidner’s excellent commentary will certainly help here.
I also recommend a newer commentary on Proverbs by John A. Kitchen (Mentor, 2006). In the appendix of his commentary, Kitchen has written a very useful systemization and summary of the path of the righteous and the path of the fool (pp. 727–736). Kitchen uses three graphics to distinguish the two paths and the several steps along the way.
The explanations behind these charts are developed in the commentary appendix. And the editors of Christian Focus have granted us permission to post the entire appendix here as a downloadable PDF (2.4MB).
Summer Series Outline
Due to its structure, the book of Proverbs is difficult to preach expositionally from beginning to end. The book lends itself to topical exposition, a feature that makes it a suitable text for preaching during the summer months.
Sovereign Grace Church in Fairfax, Virginia, is using the summer to preach a ten-week series on Proverbs. The pastors have divided the first nine chapters by topic (I was honored to participate in the series by preaching the second message).
FEAR GOD (1:1-7)
HEAR (8:1, 32)
The church printed full-color bookmarks to outline the series and, as you will see, to capture the series as an opportunity to encourage and equip the church to interpret the book of Proverbs for themselves. Here is the graphic they used for the series:
So these are a few tools of note as you preach Proverbs, or as you consider a future series in the book. I hope you find them helpful.