Lecture 5 in my Poets and Prophets course offers some guidelines for interpreting single verse Proverbs (download pdf here). Here’s the outline:

1. Some Proverbs are general rules (with exceptions)
2. Sometimes we have to choose which of two or three Proverbs is applicable in a situation
3. God’s promises are on God’s timetable
4. Don’t over-interpret or over-apply
5. Look for links with previous and following Proverbs
6. Consider a topical approach
7. Extract the timeless principle
8. Use Proverbs especially with young people
9. The Proverbs reveal Christ in four ways
10. Remember to look for New Testament quotations and allusions

Proverbs Guidelines.pdf
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