“Proverbs 4: The Principal Thing”

Categories: Bible Recall


PROVERBS 4 – The Principal Thing

“Wisdom is the principal thing” (Prov. 4:7). Every man’s life is defined by what they prioritize. The wise man makes wisdom the principal or first thing in his quest to see things from God’s viewpoint.

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord [is]” (Eph. 5:17).

Wisdom, therefore, preserves us from making bad and foolish choices without having to experience them. “Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you” (Prov. 4:6). It also works to our promotion, “Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring honor, when you embrace her” (Prov. 4:8). To forsake wisdom is to not love wisdom.


  1. The definition of a Bible “hearer” (4:1). The wise man hears in giving attention to know and understand.
  2. The definition of being “taught” (4:4). Solomon was “taught” by David when his heart retained David’s words and he kept his father’s commandments. The forgetful hearer cannot be taught well by wisdom (4:5). This is not because of any flaw of the teacher, necessarily, but because of the listener’s failure to retain.
    1. James 1:25, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues [in it], and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
    2. To retain teaching is to actively reproduce it in our lives (see also Jas. 1:22ff).
  3. The commission to utterly abandon the pathway of evil (4:14-19). Notice the energies in avoiding this pathway parallel the same level of intensity of getting wisdom and understanding (see 4:5, 6).
    1. 1 Timothy 6: 11, 12: “But you, O man of God, __________ these things and __________ righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. __________ the good __________ of faith, __________ _________ on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
    2. 2 Timothy 2:22, 23: “__________ also youthful lusts; but __________ righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But __________ foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.”
  4. The source for all of life’s endeavors—the heart (4: 23). Since the issues of life spring from the heart, the heart must be trained and well protected.



A. What do good parents give their children and how do they impart this (Prov. 4:2, 10, 11)?


B. If wisdom is the principal thing to gain in life, and if wisdom means to gain God’s outlook or perspective on things, what should my attitude be toward these things:

The question, “What is good for me?” See 1 Corinthians 10:31. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

The question of, “How often must I assemble with the Saints?” See Hebrews 10:25. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

My participation with drugs, dancing, smoking, viewing pornographic material, profanity, sexual immorality, etc. (1 Thess. 5:21-23; 1 Cor. 6:20; Matt. 5:28)?


C. Read Proverbs 4:23-27. What influence does the heart have on:

The mouth (4:24; cf. Matt. 12:34-37; Jas. 1:26)?

The eyes (Prov. 4:25; cf. Matt. 6:22, 23; 2 Pet. 2:14)? _________________________________________________________________________________________________

The feet (Prov. 4:26; cf. Psa. 119:59; Heb. 12:13)? __________________________________________________________________________________________________


Proverbs chapter four works with very active language in describing a man’s direction or walk in life. By wisdom his walk is not hindered and when he runs he will not stumble (4:12).  The chapter could be divided up as:

  1. The preservation and promotion of wisdom (4:1-13).
  2. The destructive path of sinners (4:14-19).
  3. The wellspring of life (4:20-27).

—Steven J. Wallace