Proverbs 20: Wise Sayings

When it comes to drinking, how much is too much? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Proverbs 20:1 Don’t be led to drinking too much, for wine leads to scornful talk and liquor can make you violent.
King James
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

How much concern should we have for what others think? Should we be more concerned about what leaders think? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:2 Treat leaders like a roaring lion, taking care not to anger them lest it cost you dearly.
King James
Proverbs 20:2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.

How are fights best avoided? What makes one way better than another?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:3 In confrontation, avoid getting into a fight and people will admire you. Being quarrelsome is the way of fools.
King James
Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

What excuses for being lazy seem most reasonable?

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Proverbs 20:4 Lazy people make excuses for not plowing and have nothing at harvest time.
King James
Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

How can we know that getting at the truth is worth the effort?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:5 Getting at the truth is like a deep well, but intelligent people will draw it out.
King James
Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Why might it be difficult to find a friend?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:6 Many will claim to be gracious and kind, but where can you find a friend when you really need one?
King James
Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

In what ways do God’s principles differ from the world’s rules, regulations, and laws? How can we distinguish bad from good?

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Proverbs 20:7–8 Righteous people live according to God’s principles, and their children are blessed by following their example.
A sitting judge considers the evidence and distinguishes the bad from the good.
King James
Proverbs 20:7–8 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.

Is it possible to live on Earth without sinning? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:9 Can anyone truthfully say, “I have cleansed my heart and made myself entirely free from sin”?
King James
Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

How honest does “honest” have to be?

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Proverbs 20:10 The Lord detests false weights and dishonest scales.
King James
Proverbs 20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.

When do our actions and speech not reveal who we really are?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:11 With children as well as adults, who people really are is revealed in what they do, whether good or bad.
King James
Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

How well do people use their eyes and ears? Why do we need encouragement to use them?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:12 God has given us eyes and ears, so we should use them.
King James
Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

How much sleep is “enough”?

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Proverbs 20:13 Sleeping when you should be working leads to poverty. Stay awake and alert, and you will have plenty.
King James
Proverbs 20:13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

Why do people often like to boast about getting a bargain?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:14 The buyer who haggles over the price being too high will later boast about having to pay so little.
King James
Proverbs 20:14 It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

What are our most valuable possessions? Why should we boast about them? Why should we not boast about them?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:15 Gold and jewels are valuable, but words of knowledge are worth more.
King James
Proverbs 20:15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

How cautious should we be about standing behind someone else’s promises?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:16 Require collateral for a stranger’s debt. Get guarantees of payment from foreigners.
King James
Proverbs 20:16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

What makes something stolen taste good at first but bitter later?

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Proverbs 20:17 Stolen bread may taste good, but it will later be like gravel in your mouth.
King James
Proverbs 20:17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Under what circumstances should we wage “war” instead of turning the other cheek?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:18 With good advice, plans succeed, so don’t make war without it.
King James
Proverbs 20:18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

What is the danger of sharing our secrets with gossipers?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:19 Never share secrets with gossipers, because they talk too much.
King James
Proverbs 20:19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

How does darkness overcome light?

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Exodus 14:20 The cloud between was darkness to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites, which kept them apart all night long.
Proverbs 20:20 People who curse their parents extinguish their source of light and live in total darkness.
John 1:4–5 Life itself came from him, and this life gave light to everyone. The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.
King James
Exodus 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
Proverbs 20:20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
John 1:4–5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

How can riches be a curse? When is wealth a blessing?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:21 Receiving an inheritance that makes a person suddenly rich can be a curse in the end.
King James
Proverbs 20:21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.

Why is it important for us not to be vengeful, wishing someone harm?

Author’s Thoughts
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Deuteronomy 32:25 Terror inside and the sword outside will destroy men and women, young and old, both infancts and those with gray hair.
Proverbs 20:22 Don’t say, “I’ll pay you back for harming me,” but leave vengeance to the Lord and he will take care of you.
Romans 12:19 Fellow believers, don’t seek vengeance when people mistreat you. If needed, God will handle punishment better than you can, for he says in Scripture, Vengeance is mine, and I’ll see justice done.
King James
Deuteronomy 32:25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

What do people have to gain when they cheat? What do they have to lose?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Proverbs 20:23 The Lord detests double standards, like marking different weights with the same number. He does not like scales that read incorrectly.
King James
Proverbs 20:23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

What can we know for certain about God’s directions?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:24 If the Lord is directing our steps, how can we be in a position to understand the whole journey?
King James
Proverbs 20:24 Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?

Of what value is an unfulfilled promise?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:25 Don’t trap yourself making a promise to God when you’re not willing to make the sacrifice.
King James
Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.

Why are the wicked compared to chaff?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:26 Wise leaders cull out the wicked like chaff is separated from the grain.
King James
Proverbs 20:26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

How can flesh-and-blood human beings connect with their Creator?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:27 Through the human spirit, the light of God can penetrate to the innermost depths of our being.
King James
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

What conditions might exist that would cause people to mistrust their leaders?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:28 Leaders thrive on truth and kindness. Their authority is respected when they care for the people.
King James
Proverbs 20:28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

Why should old and retired people receive honor above the young and industrious?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:29 Young people are praised for their physical strength, but those with gray hair are honored for a different reason.
King James
Proverbs 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

When is a spanking effective? When is it not effective?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 20:30 Marks from a good spanking can cleanse evil from our hearts, each stroke working to change our desires.
King James
Proverbs 20:30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.