Everyday we make choices on the path of life. Proverbs are memorable capsules of wisdom, chiseled in words and polished through use by those who have traveled that path ahead of us. But the proverbs of the Bible make a greater claim than "a penny saved is a penny earned." They are woven into the web of divine revelation, rooted in the "fear of the Lord" that is the beginning of wisdom. While many proverbs speak to us directly, we can gain much greater insight by studying the book of Proverbs as a whole, understanding its relationship to ancient non-Israelite wisdom and listening to its conversation with the other great voices of wisdom in Scripture--Job and Ecclesiastes. In How to Read Proverbs Tremper Longman III provides a welcome guide to reading and studying, understanding and savoring the Proverbs for all their wisdom. Most important for Christian readers, we gain insight into how Christ is the climax and embodiment of wisdom.Publishers Description
Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. A perverse person spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise. Everyday we make choices on the path of life. Proverbs are memorable capsules of wisdom, chiseled in words and polished through use by those who have traveled that path ahead of us. But the proverbs of the Bible make a greater claim than "a penny saved is a penny earned." They are woven into the web of divine revelation, rooted in the "fear of the Lord" that is the beginning of wisdom. While many proverbs speak to us directly, we can gain much greater insight by studying the book of Proverbs as a whole, understanding its relationship to ancient non-Israelite wisdom and listening to its conversation with the other great voices of wisdom in Scripture--Job and Ecclesiastes. InHow to Read Proverbs Tremper Longman III provides a welcome guide to reading and studying, understanding and savoring the Proverbs for all their wisdom. Most important for Christian readers, we gain insight into how Christ is the climax and embodiment of wisdom.
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Release Date Oct 12, 2002
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
|Very helpful on "How to Read Proverbs" Jan 14, 2008|
|The title of the book is accurate - as the author does an excellent job in showing us "How to Read Proverbs". I have taught Proverbs 1-9 at least three times in Sunday school classes and so I knew many of the things he had to say. But it is refreshing and assuring to hear someone say the same things I had discovered about Proverbs. He gave me good ideas on how I could improve my teaching on Proverbs. Much of the material can be used straight from this book when teaching Proverbs. |
He shows that Proverbs sees life as a "Road" or a "Path" or a "Way". And how we should walk a "Straight Path" and not a "Crooked Path". Life is full of "Decisions", that point us in "Directions", which will ultimately end in "Destinations".
In the 3rd chapter, I think the author is in error on page 32 when he is speaking about the two Women. There he says, "Both have prepared a meal". I know that Wisdom has prepared her table and her food, but I do not see any preparation on the part of Folly. And I think that is the point of Proverb 9. Folly does NOT prepare, even though she makes the same invitation for the simple to come. Folly's only food is stolen, but she does not prepare it. I believe that is the point of Proverbs 9. God in His Wisdom is very well prepared and thought out. His plans are always for our good. It was in wisdom the He created the world. On the other hand, Folly makes no preparations - because she really does not care about her guests.
I liked his 4th chapter and how he showed that proverbs are Parallelisms, Parallelisms of Opposites, Better-Than Proverbs, Imagery and Secondary Devices. Some people can over do this stuff and ruin a Sunday school class. But this would really be good to share with people and he has great illustrations to show each category.
Chapter 5 - I think that this is one of the key chapters in his book. He successfully shows that proverbs are not "Law" with absolute results. Instead, proverbs are general principles that have to be taken in context of life. He gives excellent examples to show how he comes to this conclusion. He also gives excellent examples to show the absurdity of reading these proverbs the wrong way. This was a great chapter as he shows that some proverbs are lessons from Observations and Experience, some are Instruction Based on Tradition, some are Learning from Mistakes, but ultimately all are learning is from God's Revelation - the Fear of the Lord.
No offense, but I thought chapter 6 was boring and I did not care that other nations in Solomon's day had also used this genre. I don't know anyone in a Sunday school class who would care. To some this might be interesting, but thankfully this is only one chapter and he does not over do this.
Chapter 7 was excellent. I had never seen the book of Job and the book of Ecclesiastes in this light. He shows how these 2 books give balance or completion to the idea of the proverbs. Just when you think you understand a proverb, read Job or Ecclesiastes to get the whole picture. I learned a lot from this chapter not only about these 2 books of wisdom literature, but also how they give perspective on proverbs. Very good!
Chapter 8 was also very well done as he showed how the lives of Joseph and Daniel are great illustrations of the proverbs. Their lives are the proverbs with flesh and bone - not just proverbs in theory. Life does not always yield the immediate results we think we will have even when we obey the Lord.
Chapter 10 is very well done and gives a good example of how to look at the entire book of Proverbs and concentrate on just one theme at a time. We need to follow that one theme through the whole of Proverbs. From this approach you will see that one theme often has many aspects and is much more than you may first think. I find this chapter an example for us to use as we start our own study of the Proverbs.
Do not let the simplicity of this book fool you. He has done an excellent job in making it easy to read. It clearly shows you "How to Read Proverbs".
|Enjoyable and well written Nov 26, 2007|
|Aside from a little over-spiritualizing in the "Woman Wisdom or Folly" portion, I thought that the book was quite engaging and informative.|
|A precious book! Nov 29, 2006|
- Easy to read
- Good structure
- Very helpful study questions and "for further reading" at the end of each chapter
- Good approach to the subject
- Compares Proverbs to Near Eastern wisdom texts to give background information of such kind, in such days in that region - amazing similarities!
- The author uses the New Living Translation (NLT)
I must admit that I am a lover of the King James Version (KJV). But in such a book I would have expected a different version of the Bible. An example might illustrate my point:
Proverbs 8:14-15 NLT
"Common sense and success belong to me.
Insight and strength are mine.
Because of me, kings reign,
and rulers make just decrees."
Proverbs 8:14-15 KJV
"Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice."
Proverbs 10:19 NLT
"Too much talk leads to sin.
Be sensible and keep your mouth shut."
Proverbs 10:19 KJV
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
Overall an excellent book, for beginners and advanced students of the Bible alike. The author took me several layers deeper into the Word of God - I enjoyed the ride!
|Great Intro to Proverbs Nov 4, 2006|
|Part II of Longman's little "How to Read" series, I think it is by far the best of the three (his Psalms intro is a close second). His exposition on the meaning of Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly was fantastic. His integration of other wisdom books was very helpful and militates against an isolated reading of Proverbs. And his interpretation that the woman in Proverbs 31 represents Jesus was genius. This book really motivates you to tackle Proverbs on your own and to really appreciate its artform. And you can't ask more from a intro book.|
|Review of "How To Read Proverbs" by Longman Oct 19, 2006|
|For a brief, nontechnical introduction to Proverbs, and wisdom literature in general, you will want this book. Longman discusses Proverbs in three sections: 1) General overview of Proverbs and wisdom; 2) How Proverbs fits into the overall theme of ancient wisdom (this includes the other wisdom books in the Bible and wisdom in other parts of the ancient world); and 3) Themes in Proverbs (money, love & marriage, wise and foolish words).|
This book is not a verse by verse study of Proverbs. For that you will want a commentary, such as that by Dave Bland or Bruce Waltke (see my reviews). Instead, this book is an introduction to Proverbs and the nature of wisdom literature.
Chapter one is entitled "Why Read Proverbs?" Below are comments from that chapter:
"Wisdom is the skill of living." (P.14)
"Wisdom entails the ability to avoid problems, and the skill to handle them when they present themselves. Wisdom also includes the ability to interpret other people's speech and writing in order to react correctly to what they are saying to us." (Pp.14-15)
Proverbs is more about E.Q. (emotional quotient) than I.Q. (intelligent quotient). Proverbs uses stories of animals (Prov. 24-28). "These animals don't have a high I.Q., but the verses plainly describe a skill in living that is remarkable."
"People who have a high I.Q. know many facts; they can solve difficult mathematical equations. Their ability to reason and use logic is superior to others'. People with emotional intelligence have other abilities, including `self-control, zeal and persistence and the ability to motivate oneself ... to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think...'" (Longman quotes from Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence). Biblical wisdom is closer to EQ than IQ. (P.15-16)
"Wisdom is a skill, a `knowing how': it is not raw intellect, a `knowing that.'" "Why read Proverbs, then? To gain wisdom, which is an ability to navigate life." (P.16)
You'll appreciate the insights Longman's book will give you to get a handle on wisdom in general and Proverbs in particular. I recommend it.
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