(Proverbs 24:27) Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house. Solomon “...spake three thousand proverbs...” (1KI 4:32), sage observations about life and God. We are blessed to have a number of them committed to the pages of Scripture. This ratio of “spoken to written” was characteristic of Jesus Christ, for “...there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (JOH 21:25). Solomon was endowed with much wisdom, exceeding all men who had lived before and (with the exception of Jesus Christ) all who would follow him (1KI 3:12 c/w 1KI 4:29-32). By the Holy Ghost (2PE 1:21), his wisdom was given and recorded and by the power of God his words are preserved, God even doing so through copies: “These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out” (PRO 25:1). Inspired scripture is not limited to the original autographs of prophets or apostles. Bona fide copies of God's word are as much God's word as the original writing, so that a man by “...a copy of this law...may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them” (DEU 17:18-19). Let us thank God for Solomon's insights into life in this world, wisdom which can save us from much trouble, direct us along wise and righteous paths, point us to Christ and to this solemn conclusion of all: “...Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (ECC 12:13). The practicality of today's text is readily evident. Note that the word without means outside (as opposed to within). Before undertaking a construction project it is wise to first of all build up one's knowledge, experience and finances, “Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (LUK 14:29-30). In our day when it is so fashionable for young people starting out in life to prematurely burden themselves with large mortgages, Solomon's wisdom seems very appropriate. Biblically, house sometimes refers to family (GEN 7:1; GEN 34:30). Rachel and Leah (who gave birth to the many sons of Jacob) were said to have built the house of Israel (RUTH 4:11). Solomon's advice from our text is appropriate in this department also. A man might do well to establish himself in life with good education, training or work experience before beginning a family. He would do well to prepare the work of his own maturing without (i.e., before children enter the picture), for immaturity is ill-suited to a king of a household and it is detrimental to children's well-being. “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child...” (ECC 10:16); it is as vain as the blind leading the blind (MAT 15:14). Let women likewise prepare themselves before housebuilding. Ruth, who was given the benediction of Rachel's and Leah's fruitfulness by Bethlehem's elders (RUTH 4:11) is herself a good example of the principle of today's text. She was a young widow who thought soberly, placing identity with God and His people first: “...thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (RUTH 1:16). She had labored without in the field of Boaz (RUTH 2:3), proving herself diligent and afterwards was blessed to build her house, a house that eventually included King David (RUTH 4:13-22). Circumstances and the right attitude had matured her into a godly, sober-thinking, diligent (and pro-active) woman and she was thus well-suited for building a marriage and a family. She had been a widow whom Paul would have taken notice of, one who “...diligently followed every good work” (1TI 5:10). Gospel ministers may also find instruction in today's text. God may manifest a man as being called of Him to build the house of God by his aptitude in teaching the gospel (1TI 3:2 c/w 2TI 2:2 c/w 2TI 2:24). But before being ordained and given charge over a church, before being empowered to administer baptism by which believers are built together into a spiritual house (EPH 2:20-22 c/w 1PE 2:5), he should be field-tested. As with deacons, such should “...first be proved...” (1TI 3:10), laboring in the fields of evangelical work (JOH 4:35) under the tutelage of an experienced gospel minister as a son with a father (PHIL 2:22) to see if he will hold “...fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (TIT 1:9). Let him be seen to stand fast in the face of heresies and so show himself approved (1CO 11:19). After being prepared without, proven in field-tests, only then should he be ordained and afterwards build his own house, so to speak, doing gospel work as a wise masterbuilder labouring together with God (1CO 3:9-10). “Lay hands suddenly on no man...” (1TI 5:22), especially not a novice (1TI 3:6), Paul said of the conferral of the gift of the ministry (c/w 2TI 1:6; 1TI 4:14). The Lord Jesus Christ (Who inspired Solomon's words, REV 19:10), magnified and justified His own wisdom, per our text. He prepared His work without, suffering “...without the camp...without the gate...” (HEB 13:11-13), away from the ivory palaces of heavenly Jerusalem and His heavenly temple, outside of even the earthly Jerusalem and His earthly temple. There He died at the hands of not only Jews but also Gentiles and made propitiation not only for His elect among Israel, but for His elect in the world of the Gentiles (ROM 11:11-12 c/w 1JO 2:1-2), a field which was very “...white unto harvest” (JOH 4:35). From heaven's perspective, this earth is a great field to be harvested at the Second Coming so Jesus said, “The field is the world...” (MAT 13:38). Having prepared His work without and making it fit for Himself in the field of this world, He returned to glory and afterwards built His house: the church He had promised to build (MAT 16:18), consisting of believing Jews and Gentiles, “...builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (EPH 2:22). In the New Testament church, it may especially be said, “...behold, a greater than Solomon is here” (MAT 12:42).