Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. (Proverbs 1:5-6)
A while ago I attended a conference in Staffordshire which was put on by the Banner of Truth, a publisher. In pre-Covid times, when you sat in my study you would have seen plenty of their books on my shelves. Normally hardback with gold lettering glinting in the sunlight, often reprinted collections of writings from an earlier age. As I sit in my chair I often look around at these books and feel all is well, the wise counsel of Christians past surrounds me.
There are many wonderful things about the Banner Conference, but one of the most costly is the Book Room. Not a book stall, note, but a book room. In fact, two book rooms with a connecting door. Discounts abound, particularly for those attending for the first time, and so it was that I found myself in a room with other first attenders being addressed by one of the trustees. This was no mere sales pitch, though, but an explanation of why Banner publish what they publish. What sort of books might be useful at certain times. Biographies to stir the heart, and collections of seventeenth-century writings to enrich the heart. Commentaries to help with the Bible, and so on.
Right at the end of this talk, Dr Sinclair Ferguson (for it was he) lifted up a copy of a commentary on the book of Proverbs written in 1846 by Charles Bridges, one time vicar in Suffolk and then Dorset. As we are in an increasingly changing world with fast shifting morality, suggested Ferguson, we will increasingly need the wisdom of Proverbs to help us navigate uncharted waters. Needless to say, I bought the book.
I suspect the Book of Proverbs is one of the lesser read books of the Bible, and yet it is rich in its wisdom. Do turn to it, and chew over its pithy sayings. In fact, it is a book which rewards gentle reading accompanied by much pondering. So pick up, and read.