Proverbs 1:1: “The proverbs of Solomon…”
This first phrase of Proverbs is the title for the entire book. Note first that the goal of the author is not to provide black and white “laws” to govern all behavior. He does not aim to form a comprehensive code of “prophecies” or “ethics” by which we can measure our progress in obedience. Rather, he writes “proverbs.” As Derek Kidner puts it, “there are details of character small enough to escape the mesh of the law and the broadsides of the prophets, and yet decisive in personal dealings.” In other words, while God’s law addresses the foundational principles undergirding all godly virtue, and while the prophecies shock people into returning from their sin back to these core moral principles, the proverbs address issues like “what should I do when I wake up tomorrow morning?”
Dictionary.com defines a proverb as “a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought.” That’s how native English speakers use the word “proverb,” and most translators find it adequate to represent the original Hebrew term.
What’s the point? Simply that the compiler of Proverbs reveals commonplace truths in short, memorable sayings. He’s describing principles of everyday living. He wants us to know the Lord in the messy and disorganized details of life.
Proverbs help address questions such as: should you buy a house or continue renting? When is your child old enough to become romantically involved with someone? When your friend sins, should you confront him or cover it over in love? Should you take that new job offer? How soon should you pay off your debt? Which octane gasoline should you put in your tank? What could you say to your non-Christian neighbor that would be both bold and winsome?
Biblical proverbs are high-mileage statements with suped-up verbal turbines. They contain nuggets of truth crafted attractively and concisely to provoke consideration. They arise from the daily experience of those who, like Solomon, live life with their eyes open.
 Proverbs: An Introduction & Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1964), p.13.