If you’ve ever been a teacher, you’ll know that there is more than one way to teach. Some methods of teaching may be more helpful for certain people, while others may be more helpful in specific circumstances. Sometimes, the difference comes down to a learner’s unique way of processing information, while other times different styles of teaching are better suited to achieving specific goals.

            Is your goal as a teacher to simply transmit facts into the mind of someone else? Perhaps a simple descriptive kind of teaching would be most helpful. Is your goal to get someone to act in a certain way or obey a certain command? Then perhaps a more direct, authoritative approach would be the most effective. What if your goal for your student is for them to discover something new on their own and come to their own conclusions? Perhaps then you would want to teach in a way that lays out the evidence but allows your students to discover the answers for themselves.

            In the book of Proverbs, we can see a wide variety of teaching methods implemented with the goal of imparting wisdom on the reader. One of the more interesting ways Proverbs achieves this goal is by approaching the task of teaching indirectly—preferring not to state commands outright but instead presenting the reader with all the information they need to decide for themselves without resorting to making commands or demanding obedience.

            Perhaps the clearest example of this style of teaching can be found in the idea of “two paths” regularly presented throughout the book. There is a way that seems right but actually leads to death, and there is the way of wisdom that leads to joy and success. The book of Proverbs presents us with these two ways and shows us exactly where each of these two paths lead. We are often given space to consider the implications for ourselves, and we are regularly given the opportunity to come to our own conclusions. Proverbs teaches this way because its goal isn’t simply to fill our minds with information. It wants us to be transformed by wisdom and have our lives changed by it, not to simply obey commandments out of fear or compulsion. It doesn’t want us simply to do as we’re told—instead, it wants us to see the goodness of the good path, see the pain and destruction of the evil path, and be genuinely motivated to seek what we truly believe is best based on the information that has been presented to us.

            So, as we continue our time in the book of Proverbs, take some time each week to consider not only what you are being taught, but also take time to consider how you are being taught. The book of Proverbs isn’t only a book about wisdom, it is also itself a wise teacher from which we can learn much about how to teach and learn effectively in the various circumstances our own lives as well!

All the best,


Prepare your heart for Sunday by reading the passage and listening to the songs we’ll sing.