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, which is a literary genre where we can learn wisdom from.

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. Yes, it requires discipline, but the results can be so 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 about what he could do to improve his situation. Gary thought about it overnight, and he prayed for an answer. The answer arrived in the form of a challenge, the 5 Year Proverbs Challenge.

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

“I can promise that if you’ll 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 there are thirty-one chapters in the … Book of Proverbs. Every day, at the start of each day, read the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to that particular date. Read two chapters on the last day of months that have 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 he was reading it. Steven applied the Proverbs Challenge, but it didn’t take him five years to become a millionaire by applying the wisdom that he learned from Proverbs. He became a multi-millionaire in only approximately two years!

And two years after that, Steven made sure that Gary got achieving 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 each day.

The Book of Proverbs is included in its entirety below in the Resources section at the end of this post. You’ll have the option to 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 well 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 to find out what your results will be 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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