Summary: Guidance (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Reading: Proverbs chapter 3 verses 1-6.

• A primary rule in Bible study is to always determine the context:

• So scan with me quickly over the surrounding chapters:

• Chapter 1 verse 8 “Listen, my son, your father's instruction...”

• Chapter 1 verse 10: “My son”.

• Chapter 1 verse 15: “My son”.

• Chapter 2 verse 1: “My son”.

• Chapter 3 verse 1: “My son”.

• Chapter 3 verse 11: “My son”.

• Chapter 3 verse 21: “My son”.

• The context is Solomon (the wisest man whoever lived):

• Is giving some wise 'fatherly advice' to his son in this section of his book.


• A Father and his small son were out walking one day;

• When the lad asked him a question.

• “Dad, how does electricity could go through the wires stretched between the telephone poles.

• “I don’t know,” said his father. “I never knew much about electricity.”

• A few roads farther on, the boy asked what caused lightning and thunder.

• “That too has puzzled me,” came the reply.

• The youngster continued to inquire about many things,

• None of which the father could explain.

• Finally, as they were nearing home, the boy said,

• “Dad, I hope you didn’t mind all those questions.”

• “Not at all,” replied his father.

• “If you don’t ask, how else are you going to learn!”

The context is Solomon (a father with something to say):

• Giving some wise 'fatherly advice' to his son.

• These first seven chapters of he book of Proverbs.

• Are intensely potent and practical.

• They contain vital information on how to live a stable, wise, well-balanced life.


• Before we break down these verses into smaller parts;

• There are three initial observations to note:

(1). There are four verbs in these two verses.

• Verbs are action words;

• And therefore of special interest to all who want to live an active spiritual life.

• “Trust” (verse 5).

• “Lean” (verse 5).

• “Acknowledge” (verse 6).

• “Make straight” (verse 6).


• That three of these terms are imperatives;

• In other words, they are commands, not just suggestions.

• They are directed to the child of God (therefore to us as Christians).

• They are our responsibility: “Trust . . . do not lean ... acknowledge ...”

The last term is a simple declaration of a promise.

• It declares God's part in the verse.

• It states His responsibility: “He will make your paths straight”.

Notice: How they fit together:


• “Trust in the Lord” (verse 5).

• “Don’t lean on your on your own understanding” (verse 5).

• “Acknowledge him in all your ways” (verse 6).


• N.I.V: “He will make your paths straight”

• N.L.B: “And he will show you which path to take.”

Notice: that another repetitive phrase is used in these verses:

• The same term is mentioned four times.

• It is the term “Your”.

• “Your heart” (verse 5).

• “Your understanding” (verse 5).

• “Your ways” (verse 6).

• “Your paths” (verse 6).

• It is your responsibility in a given situation is to “Trust with all your heart”.

• It is your responsibility is to refuse to “Lean on your own understanding”

• God’s part is (N.I.V): “He will make your paths straight”

• God’s part is (N.L.B): “And he will show you which path to take.”

Analyse the terms used:

(1). Trust.


During the nineteenth century,

• John Paton was sent as a missionary to the New Hebrides,

• An island group in the Western Pacific under joint British and French administration.

• Since the people had no Bible in their language,

• Paton began to translate Scripture.

• During the course of his work,

• He discovered there was no national equivalent for the word "believe".

• A solution presented itself one day when a local worker came into his office,

• Worn out from a hard day's physical labour.

• The man flung himself on a chair.

• Then he stretched out and rested his legs on another chair.

• Lying full length on two chairs, the man told Paton;

• It felt good to "lean his whole weight" on those chairs.

• Instantly, Paton noted the term the man used for "lean his whole weight on".

• He knew he had discovered the right term for the English word "believe".

• To “Trust in the Lord” means exactly that;

• “To lean our whole weight upon Him.”


• Another example would be like when you go to bed tonight,

• You lie down trusting that the bed will fully support your weight.

• My kids will run and jump on the bed using it as a trampoline,

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