Saturday, May 26, 2012

Understanding Proverbs

Walking in Wisdom: Studying the Proverbs of Solomon  
by William E. Mouser, Jr.

Characteristics of a Proverb
  • A proverb is brief. - Focuses on being memorable, not on being complete.
  • A proverbs is concrete. - The concrete example should bring to mind related principles.
  • A proverb is a general truth. - They don't include the fine print or instructions on when they apply.
  • Proverbs have diverse applications. - The general principles embodied in a concrete examples can be applied to a variety of situations.

What Proverbs Are Not
  • "A proverbs comes to express a general rule through a specific example."
  • "The two kinds of literature most often confused with proverbial literature are laws and promises."
Synonymous Parallelism
  • A proverb displays synonymous parallelism with the two ideas broutht togetrher are saying the same thing in different words.
  • Why a proverb exhibits synonymous parallelism, it is possible to omit part of one of the ideas because it is implied by the other idea. (Proverbs 14:19)
  • A Proverbs should not be identified as a synonymous parallelism merely because its second line begins with and.
Antithetical Parallelism
  • "A proverb displays antithetical parallelism when two ideas are contrasted with each other."
  • "Usually the two ideas are connected with a conjunction which is translated 'but'."    
  • Not every proverb with a second line that begins with but is antithetical and some antithetical proverbs have other conjunctions.
  • "Antithetical parallelisms can only be identified by considering the whole idea of each line."  (Proverbs 19.16)
 Read and classify the proverbs in Proverbs 18:1-24 as synonymous, antithetical, or neither.
Answers are below.

Answers:  s-3, 6, 7, 15, 18, 19, 20; A- 2, 4, 12, 14, 23, 24;  N-1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 21, 22

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