What is a proverb? The English word, according to The Oxford English Dictionary, means the following:
- 1. A short pithy saying in common and recognized use; a concise sentence, often metaphorical or alliterative in form, which is held to express some truth ascertained by experience or observation and familiar to all; an adage, a wise saw.
- 2. A common word or phrase of contempt or reproach, a byword.
- 3. An oracular or enigmatical saying that requires interpretation; an allegory, a parable.
The Bible uses the word “proverb” in all three ways, and it contains all three types of proverbs. Solomon’s book of Proverbs contains all three kinds as well.