Tuesday, January 3, 2023

An Exposition of Wisdom (Matthew 7)

"Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matt. 7:24).

The motive that enticed Charles Bridges to write a commentary on the book of Proverbs came upon the heels of another of his most famous works. After completing his doctrine-enriched commentary on Psalm 119, Bridges wanted to show how practical godliness flows from the doctrines of the Gospel. Bridges wrote, “[It is not] sound faith if it does not issue in practical godliness. Nor is there any true morality, apart from ‘the principles of Christ.’ ”

As a Reformed pastor in England, Bridges took pastoral responsibility very seriously. Like Solomon, he wanted those under his care to grow in grace, knowledge, and wisdom. Bridges lived from 1794 to 1869 where he served as one of the leaders of the Evangelical party in the Church of England. He was vicar of Old Newton, Suffolk, from 1823 to 1849, and later served at Weymoth and Hinton Martell in Dorset. He spent many laborious hours in Old Newton composing the commentary that will guide us through a study of the book of Proverbs during a major portion of this year. While most famous for his work The Christian Ministry, his commentary on Proverbs has earned much praise. Charles Spurgeon insisted that Bridges’ exposition on Proverbs was the best ever written. Bridges gives a practical rendering of the text rather than a stark technical examination. He does the same with his work on Ecclesiastes, which we will use later this year following Proverbs.

In 1846, Bridges wrote that the distinctive character of Proverbs is that it is a book for the young. “Our young are growing up at a period when the ‘foundations of the earth are out of course;’ and when subtle and restless efforts are poisoning their hearts and perverting their ways,” Bridges said. “Nothing therefore can be more important than to fortify them with sound principles.” If he wrote that in 1846, imagine what he would think today. More than ever young people need sound biblical principles and a revival of wisdom to guide them through the chaos of this world. Bridges commented that “if the world were governed by the whole wisdom in this single Book, it would be ‘a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.’ ” Let each of us, whether young or old, answer the call of wisdom this year and seek her as we would hidden treasure.

The book of Proverbs says a fool is one who does not persevere in the things of God. Pray that God will make you wise by giving you a desire to persevere in studying His Word this year. Pray that the wisdom found in the Scripture be impressed upon your life and enable you to instruct your children or other young people.