Lesson Developed by
Bible Study, Appreciation of Biblical Wisdom as Guidance for Life
20Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
21At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
24Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
25and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
26I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
27when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
28Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently, but will not find me.
29Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,
31therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
To provide the youth with: a) an understanding of wisdom; b) the various ways cultures develop, preserve and share wisdom; and c) the value of wisdom as guidance for life.
Gather (5 minutes)
- Invite the youth to sit in a circle. As they settle down, place a candle in the center of the circle and ask one of the young people to light it.
- Invite the youth to close their eyes as they listen to Dennis Brown sing “Words of Wisdom.”
Dennis Brown: “Words of Wisdom” Recording
- Pass out a copy of Brown’s lyrics printed on a page that also includes the Biblical passage read during Week I: Proverbs 1:20-31. “Words of Wisdom” Lyrics
- Ask the youth what they notice when they compare the two sets of text. Brown closes his song with the exhortation, “Live up, live up, now now, live up! Never give up righteousness!” In his book, Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music, Anand Prahlad writes, “‘Live up’ is a traditional Rastafari expression meaning to live in a dignified, spiritual manner according to the precepts of knowledge.” “Live up” is, in other words, a call to live according to precepts of wisdom.
- Lead an opening prayer expressing gratitude to God for the gift of wisdom passed down from generation to generation. Pray for God’s help that we might “Live up” in our lives together as a group, “Live up” in our lives as a community, and “Live up” as a world.
Introduction to the Session (5 Minutes)
Last week we explored the subject of wisdom and reflected on the many different sources of what Maya Angelou called “mother wit” or “homely sayings couched in the collective wisdom of generations. This week we’re going to take a closer look at how these different sources of wisdom are similar or perhaps different.
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity I: The Many Sources of Wisdom Part I (15 Minutes)
- At the close of last week’s gathering, you invited students to reflect during the week on the many sources of “collective wisdom” passed down from one generation to the next. The possible sources included, but were not limited to, Biblical passages, poems, books, songs, movies, stories, sayings, parental teachings, etc. Go around the circle asking each student to identify the source of wisdom they identified.
- Ask three volunteers to share the source of wisdom they selected (reading their poem or story or playing their music or video clip and inviting discussion as time permits).
Activity II: The Many Sources of Wisdom Part II (15 Minutes)
- Divide your group into three subgroups.
- Assign each subgroup one of the following three sets of wisdom sources.
- Give each group writing implements and flip Chart Pads.
- Make sure each group has a music device with sufficient amplification.
- Ask each group to take about 15 minutes to reflect on the three sources they’ve been assigned.
- Ask them to reflect on the following questions with respect to each of their sources.
- Does the source include an element of wisdom? What is it? What does it mean?
- Can they think of an example of a circumstance in their life or the life of their friends, their school, or their community when the wisdom offered would apply?
- Ask each group to record their answers on their flip chart pads.
- When the 15 minutes conversation is concluded, ask each group to
post their pad pages on the walls of the room.
- Post one copy of the
lyrics, fable and Bible passage next to each group’s pad pages.
Michael Jackson: “Man in the Mirror” Recording and Lyrics
Aesop’s Fable: “The Boy and the Filberts”
9 One who forgives an affront fosters friendship,
but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.
The Beatles: “The End” Recording and Lyrics
Aesop’s Fable: “The Crow and the Pitcher”
14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water;
so stop before the quarrel breaks out.
The Carter Family: “Give Me Roses While I Live” Recording and Lyrics
Aesop’s Fable: “The Fox and the Grapes”
24 Make no friends with those given to anger,
and do not associate with hotheads,
25 or you may learn their ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
Reflect (15 minutes)
- Gather the youth back in the circle around the candle.
- Hand out the post-it notes and index cards.
- Ask them to review each of the posted flip chart pages and printed lyrics or fables.
- As they circulate reviewing the posted reflections and texts, ask them to reflect on the various bits of wisdom and decide on one element they want to try to reflect and act upon during the coming week.
- Invite them to write the wisdom advice they’ve selected on their index card to take home and place a post-it note with their name next to the text posted on the wall.
- Re-gather around the circle, and, as time permits, invite the youth to share a few words about the selection they’ve made and why.
- Ask the youth to take short notes during the week as they reflect and act upon the element of wisdom they have chosen for focus. Ask them to revise the “saying”, proverb, or prescription of wisdom they have chosen to reflect their continuing thoughts.
- Ask that, before the next meeting, they edit their “saying”, proverb, or prescription to reflect their continued thinking based on their own experience and bring the edited “proverb” back to share with the group next week.
Send Forth (5 minutes)
- Invite the youth to join you in prayer. Let them know before you begin that there will be an opportunity for those who wish to lift up requests for God’s help with specific elements of wisdom during the prayer. Give a few possible examples. Note that every time a “petition” is lifted up, the group will respond with, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
- Begin the prayer by thanking God for the blessings of creation, the God-given capacities we have to learn from experience, and the lessons learned by those who have gone before that they have passed along to us as “mother wit.” Invite the students to voice petitions asking God to help us embrace particular pieces of wisdom in our lives, communities, and our world. After any student offers a petition (e.g., “Lord, help us to be mindful the need to think through the consequences of what we say before we speak”) lead the group in responding “Lord, hear our prayer.”
- When everybody has had a chance, if they wish, to offer a petition, bring the prayer to a close and say the Lord’s Prayer in unison.