We hope that, by now, you’ve heard of the True Story Project, which we announced in each of our services on August 14th and 21st.

Here, Pastor Jim Mullins, who played a major role in the development of the project, shares an example of the corresponding SQUID approach to help guide you as we gear up to begin our church-wide year through the Bible on September 5th.

What does Proverbs 31 have to do with economics, education, and whether or not I should sell my truck?

Recently, I was prayerfully reading Proverbs 31:10-31 and working through the #SQUID Approach. Here’s a little overview of how I worked through this passage. This approach can be done in a simpler way for those with less time, but this is my aim to provide an example of what it looks like to use SQUID to engage this rich chapter of the Bible containing a brilliant vision of economic wisdom, yet for some reason, seems to be exclusively reserved for women’s ministry events.

We all need Proverbs 31!

1) S – Summary: Creatively summarize this part of God’s Story in a way that helps you remember and retell it to others.

Memorable Statement: “The root of wisdom is God’s Word; the fruit of wisdom is good work.”

Proverbs 31:10-31 is the capstone of the Book of Proverbs, displaying what the wisdom from the whole book looks like when embodied through the daily work of human hands. It’s an acrostic poem that describes the work of a noble and wise woman.

Her work includes:

  • profit, provision, and concern for the poor
  • head (knowledge) and hands (skill)
  • function and beauty
  • character and competency
  • public and domestic

2) Q – Questions: What questions do you have about this part of the Story?

  • Is the wisdom in this passage for men as well as women?

ANSWER: Yes, while this does give a rich vision of a wise woman, this passage is intended to be a vision of embodied wisdom that displays what it looks like to live out the wisdom described in the whole Book of Proverbs.

  • What’s the significance of purple linens?

ANSWER: This indicates high quality and expensive material that was considered beautiful and excellent.

  • What were the “the gates” mentioned in this passage?

ANSWER: The gates to the city. This was where men congregated and was the center of the civic and economic life.

3) U – Understood – Imagine how the original audience would have understood what God was revealing.

This is a vision of what life looks like when you live by God’s wisdom. Israel would have seen this as general wisdom, not promises, that describe the nature of God’s world and the way to live within it.

4) I – Implications: What are the implications for all of life?

  • Education: A good education should include head knowledge, the development of tangible skill, and the cultivation of wisdom. We should pursue this type of learning for ourselves and support educational initiatives that include all of these things. Good education includes the world outside of our heads. It should lead to fruitful work, not just interesting thoughts.
  • Economics: Pursuing profit and caring for the poor are not mutually exclusive. Any economic vision that does not include both isn’t consistent with the pattern of God’s world. Wisdom compels us to consider ways to make fruitful profit, but in a way that leads to the flourishing of the poor.
  • Family: Our responsibilities include life both inside and outside the of home. We should not try to rank these over each other; rather, wisdom calls us to engage in both with intentionality and integration.

Characteristics of Good Work:

  • profit, provision, and concern for the poor
  • head (knowledge) and hands (skill)
  • function and beauty
  • character and competency
  • public and domestic

5) D – Do: How is God inviting you to respond?

  • To send a text message to 3 people who embody this type of work.
  • To prayerfully reflect on the wisdom of Proverbs 31 as we make decisions about our family’s transportation needs. One car? Two cars? One car and a bike? Which purchases (or lack thereof) can help us wisely fulfill our domestic and public responsibilities? How can we love God and neighbors with this purchase?