Introduction to Wisdom Literature

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2 Introduction to Wisdom Literature What part of the Bible is this? Job Psalms (that s ANOTHER study... ) Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs AND... Sirach Wisdom of Solomon

3 THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT History WISDOM LITERATURE Prophecy Torah History Job Major Prophets Minor Prophets Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth I &2 Samuel I & 2Kings 1 & 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habbakuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

4 Do you know where to find these quotes from the Bible s wisdom literature? I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. JOB 19:25 ECCLESIASTES 4:12 SONG OF SONGS 6:3

5 Do you know where to find these quotes from the Bible s wisdom literature? There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. ECCLESIASTES 3:1 PROVERBS 3:5 SONG OF SONGS 8:6, 7

6 Do you know where to find these quotes from the Bible s wisdom literature? Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. PROVERBS 16:18 Naked I came from my mother s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. JOB 1:21 PROVERBS 17:22

7 Do you know where to find these quotes from the Bible s wisdom literature? Early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy and wise. I m wise, but I m not THAT wise.

8 CHARACTERISTICS of WISDOM LITERATURE 1. Collected by Israel s wise men and kings 2. Written throughout Israel s history 3. Overlaps with other ancient wisdom 4. Addresses the questions of suffering (Job), the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes), human love (Song of Songs) and other practical issues of life 5. Does NOT mention salvation history, the covenants or the law; nor do these writings explicitly reference the promise of a Savior (but the authors assume faith in God)

9 THEMES OF WISDOM LITERATURE 1. Wisdom is rooted in God s creation 2. Wisdom begins with a fear of the Lord 3. Wisdom is a gift from God. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! Proverbs 6:6

10 So.. how we should study WISDOM LITERATURE in the BIBLE? 1. Understanding that wisdom literature is... POETRY

11 Parallel Structure in Hebrew Poetry Parallel grammar: He judges the world with righteousness; He judges the people with uprightness. (Psalm 9:8)

12 Parallel Structure in Hebrew Poetry Parallel thoughts (comparison): Like a lame man s legs, which hang useless, Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. (Proverbs 26:7)

13 Parallel Structure in Hebrew Poetry Parallel thoughts (contrast): Weeping may tarry for the night, But joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5b)

14 Parallel Structure in Hebrew Poetry Parallel thoughts (in steps): The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

15 Parallel Structure in Hebrew Poetry Word pairs reveal the poem s beauty AND its ultimate meaning world ~ peoples weeping ~ joy night ~ morning oppressed ~ trouble

16 Parallel Structure in Hebrew Poetry Word pairs reveal LAW and GOSPEL in Hebrew poetry curse ~ bless hate ~ love sin ~ mercy wicked ~ righteous life ~ death

17 So.. how we should study WISDOM LITERATURE in the BIBLE? 2. Understanding that wisdom literature belongs in the CONTEXT of the rest of the canon (Scripture)

18 SOLOMON is the connection to salvation history The son of David Ruled in peace and justice Built the temple Authors much of wisdom literature

19 So.. how we should study WISDOM LITERATURE in the BIBLE? 3. Understanding that wisdom literature POINTS US TO CHRIST and the GOSPEL

20 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me. John 5:39 (Jesus) said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Luke 24:44 (Jesus) said to them, How foolish you are.. and beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27

21 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God s power and God s wisdom, 25 because God s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God s weakness is stronger than human strength. it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us... 1 Corinthians 1:22-25, 30

22 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colssians 2:2-3

23 CHRIST IS WISDOM FROM GOD He does not just IMPART wisdom, he IS wisdom Biblical wisdom is not just dos and don ts not tips and advice for a happy and successful life, but words that lead us to the ONE LIFE that gives us life Living wise is living as the new creation we are in Christ Only those in Christ perceive the true meaning of life, the divine order of creation, the foolishness of godless living and the ultimate enteral benefit of God s wisdom

24 FOR DISCUSSION: 1. What is the best advice (or wisdom) you have received? 2. How is human wisdom limited in leading us to life? 3. What does it mean that CHRIST is our Wisdom? 4. What do you hope to gain from this study?

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