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Written by Jim Jordal   
Monday, 20 November 2006

PROVERBIAL CONTRASTS BETWEEN RICH AND POOR

A Bible Study Discussion Lesson

by Jim Jordal

INTRODUCTION:

The Proverbs of Solomon (a title, more than an attribution of authorship) offer comparisons and contrasts between personal and group behaviors and life's deepest truths. King Solomon of Israel used his God-given wisdom to compile and administer these bits of philosophy, practical living, and the negative consequences associated with making poor choices. Many of these wise sayings contrast the torments of poverty with the pleasures of wealth, while at the same time promising retribution to the arrogant rich and succor and eventual restitution to the suffering, then and now.

 The concept of poverty as used in Proverbs represents not only financial destitution, but also the social and political marginalization and disenfranchisement associated with it. Conversely, the idea of wealth or riches means not only financial plenty, but also includes the arrogance, indolence, indifference, and generally oppressive behavior exhibited by persons possessing wealth and power toward those less fortunate.

CONTENT: READ ALOUD THESE PASSAGES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS:

Prov. 1:19: "So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners."

Prov. 3:31: "Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; for the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright."

Prov. 10:15: "The rich man's wealth is his strong city; the destruction of the poor is their poverty."

Prov. 11:4: "Riches do not profit in the day of wrath; but righteousness delivers from death."

Prov. 13:7: "There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches."

Prov. 13:11: Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished; but he who gathers by labor will increase."

Prov. 14:20: "The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends."

Prov. 18:23: "The poor man uses entreaties, but the rich answers roughly."

Prov. 22:7: "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."

Prov. 28:8: "One who increases his riches by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor."

Prov. 28:27: "He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses."

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What basic spiritual principles are evident in these proverbs?
  2. How does greediness for gain take away the life of its owners? (Prov. 1:19).
  3. How do we often "envy the oppressor"? (Prov. 3:31).
  4. What does Prov. 10:15 mean to you?
  5. What is God saying in Prov. 11:4?
  6. What great spiritual principle is illustrated in Prov. 13:7?
  7. What application to present-day business values could you make from Prov. 13:11?
  8. Prov. 14:20 speaks to how money affects social status systems. How does it?
  9. Think of an example from recent events that illustrates Prov. 18:23?
  10. From your own experience, how have you found Prov. 22:7 to be true?
  11. Prov. 28:8 concerns economic justice and redistribution. Why, when, and how?
  12. Consider Prov. 28:27. Do you have faith enough to follow its advice? How?

REFERENCES: No specific ones today. The Mosaic Law, writings of the prophets, and the teachings of Christ all support these truths.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 November 2006 )