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God's Wisdom in Proverbs Hardcover – September 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Endorsement #1:“One of the great pleasures of life is puzzling through the book of Proverbs, and if you’re looking to navigate life with Solomonic skill, Dan Phillips is ready to show you the ropes. This book’s author is not too proud to learn from the Bible and he’s not too scared to think for himself. This is the first book I would recommend for those wanting to study Proverbs.”—DR. JAMES M. HAMILTON JR., associate professor of Biblical Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, author, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology

“Finding practical skill for living life is always a challenge. Dan Phillips has produced a highly readable, text driven, and practical exposition of the book of Proverbs. This work is technical enough for the scholar, yet clear and relevant for the layman. Phillips' commentary will help anyone navigate the challenges of contemporary life by explaining God's ancient book of wisdom.”—DR. MICHAEL RYDELNIK, professor of Jewish studies, Moody Bible Institute, author, The Messianic Hope

Endorsement #3:“God’s Wisdom in Proverbs is written brilliantly at a level that will challenge anyone who is interested enough in gaining wisdom and understanding to be serious in that quest. Readers will range from serious students of Scripture to casual lay readers on their way to a more serious approach to Scripture. It explains the wisdom of Proverbs (and the biblical nature of wisdom per se) in a clear, readable fashion that will be extremely helpful to everyone from students entering the academic world for the first time, to new parents seeking biblical insight into the process of child-rearing, to anyone in a position of responsibility or leadership. I recommend it for all who are tired of the superficial, self-centered themes that have filled evangelical pulpits and bookshelves for the past three decades (or more). If you are hungry for biblical material, God’s Wisdom in Proverbs will feed your appetite.”—PHIL JOHNSON, executive director, Grace to You

Endorsement #4:“The list of really useful literature on the book of Proverbs is rather short. God's Wisdom in Proverbs is a welcome and needed addition to that list. Proverbs is a book rich with insight and instruction, motivation and exhortation. However, for too many Christians it's a book of pithy sayings that make one either nod the head with feigned (but mystified) agreement or which are applied in ways that would have made even the wise Solomon scratch his head in bewilderment. Dan's book goes a long way to help clear one's head of mystery and misapplication. The reader of God's Wisdom in Proverbs will find, if not the key to Proverbs, at least a lamp to illumine and a guide to correct or confirm on the path to accurate interpretation. God's Wisdom in Proverbs offers an introduction to the wisdom of Proverbs for the beginning disciple as well insights for the seasoned scholar. Dan knows his stuff and it shows. Pastors who read this book will want to preach Proverbs; teachers will want to open the book's knowledge for students; all Christians will be delighted and challenged. After reading Dan's book, some will grow wiser, some will draw closer to the Lord, and some (after reading Dan's treatment of Proverbs 22:6) will have to take that old "cross-stitch verse" off the nursery wall.”—KEVIN D. ZUBER, PHD, professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Kress Biblical Resources (September 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934952141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934952146
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have enjoyed writing since I was very young. My first attempted opus was a rambling science-fiction tale, undertaken (and never finished) in my pre-teen years. I remember one line which gave next-oldest sister great merriment. As I recall it, I was attempting to describe a character who was a nurse. I delivered myself of this: "Beneath her cold, harsh posterior beat a heart of gold."

The line reveals two things at least about me. First, I needed a lot of seasoning (e.g. to avoid hackneyed cliches "like the plague" -- or at least to use them correctly). Second, I needed something worth writing about.

The first has continued over the years, honed in academic writing, newspaper columns, papers, tracts, online forums, and blogs.

The second only started in February of 1973, when God absolutely transformed my life by bringing me to faith in Jesus Christ. If you like, you can read more about that, starting here:

One of the biggest results of this transformation in my life was the conversion of a mushy-minded, undisciplined non-student into someone bent on serving Christ with all I had. It worked out partly in dedication to the Biblical sciences such as Hebrew and Greek, and work at various educational institutions.

Over and through it all was a unifying obsession with knowing God by knowing His word, doing it, and helping others know it and Him. I needed personally to have a firm and deep grasp, and I dearly desired to pass on everything I got to others. I have always been a slow study. Therefore, when I "get" something, I can usually break it down in a way that any willing hearer or reader can "get" it too.

So that's my aim, in writing: to take everything I've "gotten" from the deepest, hardest, and best Bible study I can do, and put it out there where any willing reader can get at it.

God has been exceedingly good. Gracious souls ranging from published PhDs to those who concluded their formal education at a young age have said they profit from my writing. Pastors and other church leaders are using the books for ministry throughout North America, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For that, all the glory goes to God alone.

If you haven't done so yet, I hope you'll become one of those to share the benefit of what I've had the joy of uncovering. After all, what I have been given, I've been given to share with you.

Currently I pastor the dear folks at Copperfield Bible Church in Houston, Texas.

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Starke on November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My friend Dan's recent post about all the ways a word like "not" can actually be positive, rather than negative, made me chuckle. I've recently finished his second book, "God's Wisdom in Proverbs", (published in a single year, alongside The World-Tilting Gospel, but who's counting) and have found myself describing it almost exclusively with the word "not", albeit in a positive way. Namely:

1. It is not a desert-dry, academic, straight textual commentary (praise God).
One of the main challenges I have with single-book commentaries, especially Old Testament ones, is the way their authors place themselves at a distance from their material. It's as if they're holding the book at arms length, unwilling to be personally engaged by it. Not so with this one. Dan writes both pastorally, and personally. He has the academic chops to wield Hebrew phrases and argue historical issues with the best of them, and it shows. But none of that is an end in itself. Dan writes like a pastor who wants to use every tool at his disposal to see his readers not just engaged by God's wisdom, but changed by it.

2. It is not a typical cutesy moralistic devotional (praise God). Dan spends a full 160 pages laying down foundational concepts about Proverb's authorship, the proverb as a literary genre and its key idea- "skillful living in the fear of Yahweh." He continually shows how that theme's context is set in the rest of Scripture, grounded in the truth that God's wisdom is only available, valuable, and essential for those who have been adopted through faith in Jesus.

3. It is not simple read - because Proverbs is not a simple book (not matter how many people write about is as if it is a magic instruction guide for Your Best Life Now (tm)).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Sweeney on November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Proverbs can be difficult to read. The vast majority of the book seems to have little to no organization or connection from one verse to the next. It can be difficult for people to understand the message of Proverbs and its application to the Christian life. Many great books have been written at many levels to help people see the greatness of the Proverbs.

Dan Phillips has written God's Wisdom in Proverbs to help bridge the gap between technical commentaries and the multitudes of "how to read" books. Commentaries are wonderful tools, but they are limited. They focus on a very close and critical reading of the text. The big picture can easily be lost. "How to read" books provide an incredibly helpful overview of the literature or book being studied. But, they struggle to bring us down into the text and explore it.

God's Wisdom in Proverbs is a mediating work. It stands between "how to read" books and the commentaries. He provides us with a very helpful explanation of the nature and purpose of the book. Phillips also adds explanations of authorship, organization, types, interpretation and how to read the Proverbs.

From here Chapter 2 begins with exploring Proverbs stated purpose: to make us wise. There is more to this collection of sayings than mere reflection on life. Solomon has been granted wisdom by God. That wisdom is a reflection on living life as a member of the people of God in light of his revealed will - for Solomon, the Pentateuch (Gen. - Deut.). Chapter 3 concerns the proverbs understanding of the foundation of wisdom. Solomon was granted his wisdom by God (1 Kings 3) and it is the same fear of the Lord which grants wisdom to his people today.

Chapter 4 concerns the theme of seeking and finding in Proverbs.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kirby L Johnson on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The explanation of Proverbs 22:6 in your appendix is awesomeness on steroids. The writing is so clear, that half way through the chapter I figured out where the interpretation was going.

One ALWAYS hears the traditional or majority view as promoted by the King James translation. And that is just so problematic. But I heard the #2 and #3 views in my early 20's growing up in the late `80s, and never was satisfied for some of the reasons you put forth in your dissent of those views: They just didn't/couldn't deal with all the phrases in the verse in an intellectually satisfying way. Much less the resulting, "now what do I do?" And because of that, I have literally nixed that verse from my repertoire of child-rearing scripture. That is the sad condition of my mind regarding the inability of mine to figure that verse out. But NO MORE! I have a such a renewed sense of understanding it borders on triumphalism. I hope your explanation works its way to the top of the heap, and soon. Your concluding thought about being "brought back to the doorstep of the Majority View" has a really kind and nice ring to it. I hope traditionalists will give your explanation a fair reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Shaw on November 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A proverb is a compressed statement of wisdom, artfully crafted to be striking, thought-provoking, memorable, and practical. - Dan Phillips definition of what a proverb is from his book God's Wisdom in Proverbs.

Phillips has written a book that will be invaluable whenever I turn to Proverbs. He has taken the time to give us the meaning of the Proverbs in the original language it was written in (Hebrews). He shows us the style and structure and how we are to gain wisdom from reading Proverbs. He explains the passages in a way that most will understand. It is obvious that this book took years of study to prepare. This book isn't a commentary as such. He does give exposition on several of the Proverbs but not all; that isn't his point in writing the book.

In the first chapter Phillips further explains what a proverb is:
A proverb typically is truth dressed to travel. It is wisdom compressed, compacted, stripped down to its essentials, and ready to go. Proverbs are tailored in such a way as to snag and stay in the mind.... Proverbs do not try to say everything. But what they do say, they say artfully and memorably. With this quote he makes a valuable but forgotten point, that proverbs aren't just life wisdom to be learned but life wisdom that is to be put into practice. He devotes the majority of his book to how we can apply the proverbs in our lives and in many of the most important relationships we have in heaven and on earth.

The first relationship he guides us to is our relationship with God and how we are to relate to Him in trust and worship. He shows time after time that God wants to direct the paths of His children and how He desires to be worshiped by them.
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