The Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life

Four young men have grown up around our dining room table, and the book of Proverbs has shown up as a regular on the breakfast menu, along with the oatmeal and the eggs. Liz Curtis Higgs asked hundreds of her readers to choose their favorite verses from the Proverbs and then narrowed the list down to the top 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path, a month’s worth of daily wisdom, comfort — and jarring insights.

Liz loves words and has dug deep into each text, phrase by phrase, holding the truth up to the light and turning it slowly so as to appreciate each facet. The proverbs are all about wisdom, but the goal Liz has in mind is to assist her readers in savoring God’s goodness. God’s words are an invitation to individual spiritual growth and a deep source of satisfaction for “the hunger no breakfast can satisfy.” (14)

Drawing from personal examples and her own humorous observations of life on this planet, Liz brings unique and refreshing insights to much-beloved sacred words:

“A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2)

Of the 31 Proverbs in the book, 13 have the word but right in the middle. Liz compares but to “a hinged door” that “leads to another possibility or an important comparison. But can also serve as a flashing light, a warning, a stop sign.” (18)

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” (Proverbs 11:13)

A chatty personality is delightful, and it can come in handy, I’m sure, when Liz is on the road with people coming and going in her life all the time, but she shares the dark side of loving to talk, and the proverbs offer a path of freedom away from the sins that bind us and the bad habits that slow our growth toward righteousness.

In fact, more than a hundred verses in Proverbs focus on the power of words to wound or heal. Having experienced the down side of this equation, Liz invites her readers to dream along with her about a life in which the only words we speak to one another are “pleasant” and “kind” and “fair.” (Proverbs 16:24)

“Anxiety weights down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25)

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

Anxiety and depression are a reality that cannot be shrugged off with a scriptural band aid. Liz knows from her own experience of swallowing pride and swallowing the daily pill for depression that the “cheerful heart” and anxiety free living are not empty promises — but there are bio-chemical realities that must be faced head on.

And just in case anyone has become discouraged in their reading of Proverbs as a list of good deeds for the habitual do-gooder, Liz makes the important distinction between “doing a good thing” and “doing a God thing.” Generous living and joyous giving flow from a relationship with the God who owns all things.

When Proverbs 18:10 declares that “the name of the Lord is a “fortified tower” and encourages readers to “run to it” for safety, it’s helpful to have a concrete image to connect with the name of the Lord, and Liz has added something to my tool belt:  a list of twenty-six names of God in alphabetical order for memorization and meditation.  (Thanks, Liz!)

The hands-on, boots on the ground mentality of 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path makes it clear that the light on our path is godly wisdom that emanates from wise choices, righteous deeds, and an intentional following of God that happens over a life time.  Each of the 31 Proverbs comes with a One Minute, One Step practical application.  Suggestions range from the very simple — list everything you are grateful for — to the more intensely meddling assignment of initiating reconciliation with someone we have wronged, hurt, or offended.

With Bible study questions in the back of the book along with complementary passages that allow Scripture to comment on Scripture, Liz has crafted a resource for individual use or for small group study. The application of ancient truth to a thoroughly modern life begins with opening the pages of Scripture and allowing the Spirit of God to speak Truth into our words, our relationships, and our motives as we are led along His straight paths.


This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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71 thoughts on “The Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life”

  1. This looks like a great book Michele. I try and read a chapter a day from the book of Proverbs. Looks like Liz Curtis Higgs has some valuable insight into some of these special verses. Thanks for writing this review. ~ Abby

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the book of Proverbs … you could just sit all week with one verse and be fully satisfied. Liz’s book sounds powerful and practical … having lived through anxiety and depression and working with women who do battle with the same, I so appreciate these words of encouragement –>’there are bio-chemical realities that must be faced head on.’

    Thanks for a superb {as always} review, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to sitting all week with one verse! In fact when I go crashing headlong into the Proverbs, the first thing I always feel is overwhelmed. I want to sit and ponder each verse or each chunk of wisdom. I thought Liz’s approach was very helpful, taking a verse or a concept supported by a couple of verses and then examining the truth word by word.
      Thanks, Linda, for your encouraging words here!


  3. I love the wisdom that is found in Proverbs, especially for women. I look forward to adding this book to my library. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz writes like a friend sharing a great piece of news — which of course she is doing in her presentation of truth. And she manages to say hard things in a way that feels very compassionate.


  4. Michele,
    I absolutely LOVE Liz!! This is one of her books I have not yet read, but I have put in on my list. Such wisdom about our tongues in the Proverbs and I’m certain Liz adds her own special levity and personal experience on how we need to shuteth our lips. Praying for her has she fights endometrial cancer. What a testimony she will (and does) have!
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love Liz Curtis Higgs and didn’t know about this book. It looks good! I remember when she was asking for those verses way back when! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this. I need to go back to the book of Proverbs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love Liz and have heard her speak on several occasions. Her humor mixed with honesty make her likable. I am sure this book on the Proverbs is a mix of the same. I have a similar book of Liz’s- 31 verses to write on your heart. I started the book but it has been packed away. I will have to pull it back out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Proverbs has always been one of my favorites. For years a Proverb and Psalm was my Bible reading plan — along with my breakfast. I guess I knew early on I would need help with my words. : ) I love the idea of diving deeper and Liz always brings a freshness to what she shares. Thank you for introducing this book to me, Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks like a sweet book, Michele. And, what a treat to have a Names of God list as well. I love the study of the names of God. Liz Curtis Higgs is so special, isn’t she? Such a treat to see her at She Speaks this year. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This: “Anxiety weights down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25) is my favorite. Because when you get anxious, you feel like NOTHING will pick you out of it, but often it is a kind word, a small thing, that works the miracle. I love the idea of picking 31, a manageable amount, from Proverbs and carrying those close to your heart. I’m off to Google this book.


    1. Yes, I agree. Anything that will make the book of Proverbs more manageable is a gift. Whenever I do a read through I get overwhelmed. It’s all good advice and sound thinking, but one can only apply so much of it at a time.


  10. I’ve heard of Liz Curtis Higgs but have not yet read her work- thanks for this helpful review : ) I think I’ll be adding to my Christmas list!

    Also, I wanted to let you know you’re nominated for a blogging award. Congratulations! The details, if you want to participate, are in this link:

    Grateful for you and your love for our Savior!


    1. Liz is a hoot, and at the same time a very serious student of the Word. I reviewed her women of Easter book in the spring of this year, and it was also stunning.
      And thank you for including me in your list of women that I have so much respect for. What a humbling thing to read on a Sunday afternoon.
      And congratulations on double barrel awards for you and your lovely blog!


  11. I do love the Book of Proverbs. It can be so encouraging, and enlightening too. I relaly enjoyed this post, Michele! Thank you also for sharing the Hearth and Soul Link Party button on your site. Have a lovely week ahead.


  12. Sounds like another good book! I just finished reading Proverbs with my English class and they enjoyed it and they gave me new insights. Fun stuff!
    Stopping by from #inspirememonday


  13. Michele, I am immediately convicted by the first proverb and how our minds can so distort things and lead us into trouble. How we think we can read another’s heart and all the chaos this creates in our earthly relationships. A lot to ponder!


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