Browsing the Bible’s Self-Help Aisle

People like Proverbs. When I ask my high school students what they’d like to study, Proverbs always appears toward the top of the list (right behind Genesis and Revelation). And, when pastors preach through Proverbs, they often get more comments from people expressing how much they appreciated the sermon.

proverbs, wisdom, godly living, self improvementAnd I’m sure it’s because Proverbs has so much practical advice for daily living: disciplining unruly children (13:24), controlling your temper (14:17), managing your money (21:5), finding the perfect wife (31:10-31), just being wise (6:20-23), and much more. This is good stuff! Unlike those boring laws in Leviticus, these are things you can apply every day. (Before you start defending Leviticus, I don’t really think this. But admit it, most people think that Leviticus is boring and irrelevant while Proverbs is fascinating and practical.)

I recently sat through a sermon series on Proverbs that was just like this: every sermon packed with wise tidbits. I felt like I was hearing Benjamin Franklin reincarnated: be more disciplined, wake up earlier, control your temper, choose your friends carefully, spend wisely, and so on.  This is good advice that everyone should follow: the Bible’s own self-help aisle.

But is this really what Proverbs is about? Should we read Proverbs as a book of wise advice that anyone can and should follow?

This is the beginning of my latest monthly article over at So head over there to read the rest and let me know what you think.



3 Responses to “Browsing the Bible’s Self-Help Aisle”

  1. Peter Grainger December 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Thank you for your series on Good News for the Living Dead. I hope that your book will be appearing soon. I find all your work is extremely enlightening. Thank you and God Bless. Peter

    • Marc Cortez December 11, 2012 at 5:07 am #

      Thanks Peter, greatly appreciated. And I’m in conversation with a couple of publishers now. We’ll see how things work out.

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