Unjoined up thinking
Proverbs 10. Why is it such a jumble? Up to chapter 9, the book of Proverbs seems to offer its thoughts in a fairly coherent progression. But from chapter 10 onwards it all seems so disjointed. Granted there are themes that repeat and there are some wonderful nuggets to be mined. Nonetheless, there seems to be no coherent progression of thought from one verse to the next. Why? Would it not make more sense to group the individual Proverbs together by theme? Maybe a chapter on discipline, another on money etc? After all, most books and bible study resources on the book of Proverbs tend to group this material thematically, why did the compiler of the Proverbs not do the same?
The book of Proverbs does not answer these questions, but in a sense its structure reflects the reality of the world in which we live. The problems of this life do not come to us in neatly packaged thematic bundles. If we were to list the areas of life in which we need God's wisdom on any particular day we would probably list more than one theme each day.
Maybe rather than kicking back against the lack of thematic unity within each chapter, we should enjoy it. Watch out for the repeated themes as they gradually accumulate. If two or three of the sayings leap out at us as being particularly relevant for the day ahead, let's allow ourselves to think deeply about those particular verses, rather than feel that we need to give each verse equal time. If we return to the book in a couple of years time we may find ourselves alighting on different verses as our circumstances and characters change. We will not absorb all of the wisdom in Proverbs in a month. Let's drink deep from God's wisdom today and look forward to returning again and again to this book in the years to come.