Read: Proverbs 12
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” From the very first verse, chapter 12 is dominated by contrasting statements: “But this, but that—but but but!” Nearly every proverb is a contrast (except for two, see below). This is actually a very effective teaching tool, because when we see opposite things side by side we can more clearly see the difference between them and make better decisions.
The chapter’s structure forces you to make some choices specifically related to your use of words and how you treat people.
Sometimes the arrangement of proverbs can seem haphazard, but a closer look reveals truly beautiful and intentional structures. In chapter 12 there are 28 proverbs, divided cleanly into two sections of 14 proverbs each.
Here’s what the breakdown looks like:
- Verse 1 – The wise person is teachable
- Verses 2-13 – 12 contrast proverbs about Words and Deeds
- Verse 14 – A non-contrast Conclusion
- Verse 15 – The wise person is teachable
- Verses 16-27 – 12 contrast proverbs about Words and Deeds
- Verse 28 – A non-contrast Conclusion
The symmetry of the structure drives the point home. The righteous are teachable and are careful watchers of the things they say and do. In verse 28, the final line concludes with a clear-cut reference to eternal life: “In the path of righteousness… there is no death.”
As you read through chapter 12, ask the Lord for power to live by the wisdom of these proverbs as you speak and act today.