GOT KIDS? Interpreting Proverbs for Parenting
The first step in interpretation is to consider the author’s intention. We can say that each book of the Bible has at least two authors; one with a capital A and one with a lower class a.
Capital A is of course God as we hold the Bible, including Proverbs as the Word of God. This does not mean that God actually spoke each Proverb to the writer, but what was written expresses exactly what God desired to be given to us.
Lower class a is the writer of the book. In this case, Solomon penned most of the proverbs but not every proverb originated with him.
In seeking the author’s intent, we look at the Book of Proverbs from the perspective of why did Solomon write them. The fact that he is the King of Israel, God’s chosen people at the time. As king, he has a responsibility to prepare the next king to rule in such a way that represents a nation that ultimately has God as King. The setting of the proverbs seem to be in a home setting as the call to the student is to listen to the teachings of his father and mother.
If we were to give Proverbs a statement then of author’s intention, it may go like this: “Proverbs was written to train the next King of Israel to understand how to rule his own life and the nation according to God’s perspective and will.”
Having a general understanding of the author’s intention helps keep us oriented toward good interpretation. If our interpretation of a proverb or application stray too far from the author’s intention, then it calls for careful evaluation.
I will follow in the next few days with some rules to consider as we learn how to use wisdom in our parenting. The big rule for parenting is, “before you apply Proverbs to your children, apply it first to yourself.”