Two Ways to Live (Proverbs 4:1-27)

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God is not explicitly mentioned in Proverbs 4, but his presence is woven throughout as a wise Father continues to exhort his son to pursue wisdom. The message of Proverbs 4 is simple; will you pursue the way of wisdom or the way of wickedness? The decision, while simple, is not an easy one. How do we pursue wisdom? It's not a matter of just trying harder, but a matter of the heart.


  1. HEAD: Questions aimed at our minds to help us understand God’s word.

    • In Proverbs 4 the father mentions how godly wisdom was passed down to him from his father. What does this tell us about the value of investing in the next generation? What other passages of scripture speak to this theme? (ie. Deut. 6:4-8)

    • Wisdom is once again personified as a woman (1:20-33, Chapter 9). What do the metaphors of verses 8 and 9 tells us about the value of knowing God? Why would Solomon feel the need to continually repeat this theme? (2:1-5, 3:13-14, etc)?

  2. HEART: Questions aimed at our affections to help us love God.

    • Read verse 23. We’re tempted to try and fix ourselves by focusing on the outside and working inward. Whether it’s possessions, career, relationships, money, etc., we’ve all thought, “If I could just have ____, then I would be satisfied.” How does verse 23 answer this idea?

    • Now read John 7:37-38. According to Jesus, what’s the first and foremost way we “keep the heart”?

  3. HANDS: Questions aimed at our hands to help us live for God (Personally, Communally, and Missionally).

    • “Get wisdom” and “Keep your heart” seem like straightforward commands. But how do we actually do this? Discuss some practical ways to grow in wisdom and diligently keep your heart grounded in Christ.

    • Verses 24-27 give 4 specific commands: Evaluate your life in light of these verses. What corrections need to be made? What sins need to be repented of? What progress in grace have you seen?


  • Sermon Notes PDF

  • The Expulsive Power of a New Affection (Sermon PDF)
    Just as the Father in Proverbs 4 was a recipient of godly wisdom from the previous generation, Christians today are privileged to benefit from previous generations of faithful Christians. One example is a sermon by Thomas Chalmers entitled The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, which is profoundly relevant to our Proverbs study and has been referenced in our Proverbs sermons. Reading the sermon is a bit of work for the modern reader. HERE is a helpful summary of the sermon.