Outline of Proverbs

It is difficult to construct a detailed outline of Proverbs because there is little connection between some verses.  While in Psalms each chapter is its own psalm, in Proverbs each verse is often its own complete thought with no connection with what is said before or after it.

Still, there is a broad outline that one can use to read through the book of Proverbs or find particular thoughts.

Proverbs 1-9: The contrast between wisdom and folly.  While Proverbs is all about wisdom, the opening chapters promote living a wise life while warning what will happen to those who do not heed wisdom but instead choose a life of folly.

Proverbs 10-24: Proverbs of Solomon.  These are just a collection or list of Proverbs of Solomon that were compiled by his men.  They bounce from topic to topic with no running theme.  However, Proverbs 10-15 are known as the “but Proverbs” because of their contrasting style.  (See Hebrew Poetry for more information on style.)  Almost all of the proverbs in these six chapters contains the word but to set up a contrast in statements.

Proverbs 25-29: More proverbs of Solomon.  There is little difference between these chapters and the set above.  These proverbs were attributed to Solomon but were not written down until 200 years later when Hezekiah instructed that the proverbs be compiled much like Solomon’s men had compiled previous ones.  Solomon is still the source of the proverbs even though they came through a 200 year old oral tradition before being written down.

Proverbs 30: The wisdom of King Agur.  Style wise, there is little difference between this chapter and the previous ones.  If King Agur is not Solomon himself, these may still be Solomon’s proverbs.  The name Agur means collector and it could be a pseudonym for someone else who collected Solomon’s sayings.

Proverbs 31: The sayings of King Lemuel.  No one knows anything about King Lemuel and some believe that this may be another name for Solomon.  This chapter is notable for its depiction of a woman of godly character.  It should be remembered that this chapter contains an ideal for a godly woman and thus an unobtainable standard to reach.

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