What Is Proverbs About – Learn and Apply Wisdom with The 5-Year Proverbs Challenge

What is Proverbs about?

The Book of Proverbs is a well-known example of wisdom literature, a literary genre from which we can learn wisdom.

What is wisdom about?

Wisdom can include the following:
• Discernment / Understanding / Insight;
• Knowledge;
• Good judgment; and
• Correct application of knowledge.

When you and I learn and apply wisdom, our lives can be dramatically transformed for the better. It requires discipline, but the results are worth the effort!

I invite you to learn and apply wisdom with The 5-Year Proverbs Challenge…

The 5-Year Proverbs Challenge

In the Foreword to The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness by Steven K. Scott, Dr. Gary Smalley talks about what I call the 5-Year Proverbs Challenge.

The challenge originated in 1974. Steven K. Scott told Dr. Gary Smalley about his struggles. He couldn’t keep a job, and his attempts at businesses had failed. Steven asked Gary for any suggestions for how to improve his situation. Gary thought about it overnight and prayed for an answer. The answer arrived in the form of the 5-Year Proverbs Challenge.

The following morning, the two friends met for breakfast, and Gary gave Steven a promise.

“I can promise that if (you) do just one thing, within two years, you’ll be smarter than all of your future bosses. And I bet you’ll be a millionaire within five years.” – Dr. Gary Smalley

Steven didn’t believe Gary, but then Steven asked what he needed to do.

“There are thirty-one days in the month and … thirty-one chapters in the … Book of Proverbs. … At the start of each day, read the chapter in Proverbs (corresponding) to that particular date. Read two chapters on the last day of (the) months (with) only thirty days. Do that every day, month after month, and I guarantee that within two years, you’ll be smarter than all of your bosses. Do it for five years, and I bet you’ll become a millionaire.” – Dr. Gary Smalley

Gary also told Steven to make notes about what he learned from the Book of Proverbs while reading it. Steven applied the Proverbs Challenge, but it didn’t take five years to become a millionaire by applying the wisdom he learned from Proverbs. He became a multi-millionaire in only approximately two years!

Two years after that, Steven ensured Gary achieved his dreams, too.

If you’re curious about what you could achieve by applying the 5-Year Proverbs Challenge, it helps to have the Book of Proverbs available to read daily.

The Book of Proverbs is included in its entirety below in the Resources section at the end of this post. You can download the Book of Proverbs in two different versions, one without any notes and one with extensive translation notes.

I’ve already started applying the 5-Year Proverbs Challenge, and I’m still years away from reaching the 5-year mark. I’m curious about what my life will look like by the end of the challenge. I suspect it’ll be worth it to continue doing the challenge for the rest of my life.

“May the wisdom of Proverbs fill your lives with never-ending joy, purpose, and fulfillment.” – Steven K. Scott


I’m interested in finding out your results from doing the 5-Year Proverbs Challenge. Even if your results aren’t as dramatic as what Steven K. Scott and Dr. Gary Smalley achieved, your results are still worth sharing.

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Until next time,

James Barnett

Bonus Section: Resources

Here is a version of Proverbs without any notes:


Here is a version of Proverbs that has extensive translation notes:

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