The Proverbial Preamble

Have you ever thought about a Preamble?

01While doing some studies through the book of Proverbs that will cover the next 31 days (duh, there’s 31 chapters!), and looking through various commentaries I have available, the word Preamble showed up. One dictionary simply says, “a preliminary or preparatory statement; an introduction.” It seems like you could simply call it an Introduction, but Preamble must sound more studious! It’s ages old and comes from Latin that simply means “walk before.”

Probably the usage of Preamble we remember the most comes from our earlier lives in Junior High School. Seventh or Eighth Grade? U.S. History? Mr Carson?? Some class like that. Regardless, it was one of the most important acts of memory and recitation any of us had to do in front of the class – The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution.  Amazingly, it stuck and I remember most of it to this day, some 45 years or so later.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This was the introduction to the Constitution, and then the meat and potatoes followed defining how the governmental structure would be established. The first three Articles are very important as they define the structure of governmental order and control, while the remainder addresses a host of other planned processes.

  1. Legislative Branch – “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
  2. Executive Branch – “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”
  3. Judicial Branch – “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”

These three find their roots in a particular scripture that history has told us the founding fathers used to set up the structure.

For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. (Isaiah 33:22 KJV)

While we do not have a “king” it was thought that the word “president” is the “elected head of a republican state”. Which begs an answer to what does it mean “republican”, because we also use the base word (republic) in our salute to the flag?

Republic: a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. [Source]

In fact, many of our 250 or so our founding fathers were devout and outspoken Christians. Not every one of these founders signed the Declaration of Independence, but worked on the Constitution, framed the Bill of Rights, held offices of Governors and Generals of the Revolution.

Today, citizens are regularly told about the lesser religious Founders (such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine), but hear nothing about the prominent Christians among the Founders (for example, 29 of the 56 signers of the Declaration held what are today considered seminary or Bible school degrees, and many others of the signers were bold and outspoken in their personal Christian faith). [Source]

So, the Preamble was very important. It opened the conversation for everything it preceded. My research of Proverbs shows that it has a similar Preamble, and probably other biblical books do also.

To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.(Proverbs 1:2-7 KJV)

I’ve highlighted some key words, but these few verses really state the premise of the entire book. Verse 7 may simply refer to the Foundation of the Book…but take special note, the word for “fear” does not indicate a quaking, rather a moral reverence.

The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge.”

A thought I had as I studied this chapter. Does the Preamble come before the writers pen their books? Or do they go back and open up the first chapter with an Introductory statement? I find that when I have an idea for a bible study, or preaching message, that I make a list of what I’m thinking in some form of an outline and then prepare to study to fill in the blanks, else, I get easily sidetracked by the rabbit trails of study I can easily find!

What if …

What if our headstone could simply be the conclusion of the the Preamble of our life was all about? What would yours say about you that you would like to be a permanent Introduction to your life.

What’s Your Preamble?