Proverbs 1:6,  To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

The proverbs to understand a proverb, and the interpretation.

The proverbs to understand the words of the wise.

The proverbs to understand their dark sayings.

Here Solomon gives us a key in our study of his proverbs.

He not only tells us what he intends his proverbs to accomplish in the life of the young man but here, he tells us how to gain understanding of his proverbs.

He says that his proverbs will provide understanding of his proverbs.

His proverbs are designed to explain each other.

His proverbs do not contradict each other but are designed to augment each other to arrive at a full understanding of the proverb.

He has so written dark or hidden portions of his proverbs with contrasting light or open portions which, if diligently applied, will provide understanding of the proverb or other proverbs.

You see, a proverb is a profound, sometimes mysterious, sometimes abstract saying which requires interpretation.

So Solomon tells us his proverbs are designed to explain each other.

This principle of proverbs is also applicable to the rest of scripture and is a mark of the divinity of scripture.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God and therefore all scripture is consistent and each part supports every other part.

But scripture is not designed by God to give itself wholly to the casual reader.

Yes, there are blessings to the casual reader but only a light mist is given in response to a casual approach to the scriptures.

The full rains come only with study, comparing scripture with scripture.

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 4:4, ...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, ....that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

This principle, applied to physical food, also applies to eating spiritual food, the word of God.

God expects the Bible student to work for the food of the word.

Any that will not work shall not eat the full meal of the word of God.

Paul instructs Timothy in 2 Tim 2:15 to,  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Rightly dividing means to make a straight cut, to dissect correctly.

We certainly want our doctors to do this when they operate on us don't we?

We want a straight cut and we want everything to fit together when the operation is done.

It is not too much to expect a finish carpenter to rightly divide the trim work of our house is it?

We want all the parts to fit together and be in the right place, don't we?

We don't want to see crown molding used for the baseboard, do we?

We are not thrilled to see him fill his mistakes with caulking.

He is to take all the component trim parts and put them together properly to make the finish work of a house that will stand the test of time.

We too are to correctly handle the Word of God in our analysis and in our presentation.

The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword and being so sharp is able to straightly cut itself into its proper divisions and systematic order if we let it.

We are to let the Word of God do the work it is designed to do.

Peter in 2 Peter 1:20,21 tells us,  ...that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The will of man produces multitudes of books that are not able to relate truly to one another.

Even the same author will contradict himself in his various books.

But the holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has unified scripture in a perfect way and we are assured by God himself that all scripture is fitly framed!

God does not use caulking to fill cracks in his word.

All joints are perfectly cut and he expects us to study knowing that we are not to come to a conclusion about scripture privately, neglecting or not considering other scripture.

We can depend on the fact that all scripture is truth and no part can be neglected in favor of another part.

This is a great responsibility but it reaps great dividends!

Solomon continues in this verse by saying his proverbs are provided to understand the words of the wise and their dark sayings.

He said in Ecclesiastics 12:11,  The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

A goad is a pointed rod used to stimulate a beast to move faster.

It is used to urge the beast forward, to rouse the beast from apathy, to instigate the beast to activity.

The goad is used to get the attention of the beast.

I'll help you get going in the right direction, beast!

The nails he refers to in this verse are truths that a person can anchor his life to securely.

Remember when people used to hang their coats from nails before we got fancy with proper coat hooks?

The nails are the words of the wise.

The nails are the dark sayings which simply refer to a conundrum, a puzzle, a hard question, a maxim where light gained from study comes to dispel the darkness.

The masters of assemblies are the schools of wise men, the pastors if you will.

The one shepherd is God from whom the words of the wise and the dark sayings come.

God records as the Maschil (mas-keel') of Asaph in Psalm 78:1-4,  Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

So his proverbs are given to the young man so the young man can understand the goads and not ask why he is being goaded when the goads come.

So that the young man may know that the goads are from the one shepherd who desires that he go at times to the green pastures and the still waters.

So that he may know that the goads are from the one shepherd who may at times require him to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

And that he may know that the goads are to bring him to conclude that goodness and mercy shall follow him all the days of his life: and he will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.