Proverbs to Teach Children

Luther was famous for discussing important topics with his friends and students over means.  His students collected the conversations in a book called Tabletalk.  This concept is a good use of your families meal times, but what should you talk about?  The Book of Proverbs provides great pity thoughts from Solomon and others that can spark conversations with your kids.  You’ll have your favorite Proverbs, but here are some examples of verses that can be used with children aged 4 to 8.  Skim the verses and you’ll understand the idea.  You can then find verses on your own that you think are relevant to older kids.  For other resources about parenting see How to Parent

Proverbs about God

  • Fear God: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (1:7)
  • Have faith in God: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (3:5-6)
  • Give to God first: Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (3:9-10)
  • Endure suffering because it’s from God: My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. (3:11-12)
  • Do not fear, God is with you: When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.  Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. (3:24-26)
  • God hates wickedness: For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, but His secret counsel is with the upright. The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just. (3:32-33)
  • Fear God to add to your life: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it. (9:10-12)
  • Honor God with your work: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (16:3)
  • God is in control: The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (16:9)
  • Consider your motives, God does: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. (21:2)

Proverbs about relationships

  • Avoid friendships with sinners: My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent…My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path.  (1:10,15)
  • Avoid the wicked: Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble. (4:14-15,19)
  • Don’t judge by appearance: One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. (13:7)
  • Choose friends carefully: Whoever walks with the wise become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (13:20)
  • Find true love: Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. (15:17)
  • Discern your friends’ motivations: Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend. (19:4)
  • Don’t fuel disagreements: For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. (26:20)
  • Don’t be pressured by others: The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe. (29:25)

Proverbs about wisdom

  • Know the Bible: My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you…then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. (2:1,5-8)
  • Know the commandments: My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. ( 3:1-2)
  • Seek wisdom: Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. (3:13-15)
  • Seek wisdom to persuade others about God: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. (11:30)
  • Listen to others: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (12:15)
  • Seek advice for big decisions: Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed (15:22)
  • Accept correction: A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool (17:10)
  • Seek wisdom above treasure: The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. (17:24)
  • Resist a hasty answer: Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; (17:27-28a)
  • Consider both sides of the story to judge rightly: The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.  (18:17)

Proverbs about behavior

  • Do good now: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.  Do not say to your neighbor, “ Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you. (3:27-28)
  • Watch your mouth: Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.  Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. ( 4:23-24)
  • Watch your eyes: Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.  Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (4:25-27)
  • Don’t be lazy: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. ( 6:10-11)
  • Obey your parents: My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. (6:20-22)
  • Make your parents glad: A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother. (10:1b)
  • Take care with your words: When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense. (10:19-21)
  • Be righteous: Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.  When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever (10:23-25)
  • Be humble: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. (11:4)
  • Work hard: Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.  (12:11)
  • Be truthful: Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight (12:22)
  • Restrain your tongue: Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips come to ruin. (13:3)
  • Look outside yourself for salvation: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (14:12)
  • Don’t be gullible: The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (14:15)
  • Be content: A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (14:30)
  • Keep calm: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (15:1)
  • Don’t gain deceitfully: Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. (15:16)
  • Check your motivations: All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weights the spirit (16:2)
  • Bless others with complements: Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body (16:24)
  • Control your emotions: Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city (16:32)
  • Listen: If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (18:13)
  • Hold your plans lightly: Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand (19:21)
  • Protect your reputation: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. (22:1)
  • Learn to control desires: A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (25:28)
  • Don’t be prideful: Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him. (26:12)
  • Stay humble: Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips (27:2)
  • Don’t be puffed up by praise: The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise. (27:21)
  • Hold your tongue: Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?  There is more hope for a fool than for him. (29:20)
  • Do good: Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (31:9)