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This review is from: God's Wisdom in Proverbs (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. Chapter 5 is about how the people of God are to relate to him by faith and trust. Chapters 6-8 concern skill in relationships, marriage and parenting, respectively. Proverbial wisdom is not a collection of pithy sayings disconnected from life. They are profoundly practical.
The epilogue is a reflection on the nature of the wise person in Proverbs. The wise man is the one who is teachable, humble and fears God. He is not always the most successful or feared man. The wise man is also determined by his positive response to God's call to seek wisdom.
The book of Proverbs is a wonderful gift of God's grace to his people. They are full of wisdom and practical instruction which is as relevant today as it was the day Solomon wrote them. Second to scripture as a gift of God's grace are godly teachers. God has granted his people men who are capable in learning and communicating his Word. Dan Phillips is such a teacher. This book is easy to read, yet packed with information and insight. He does what a teacher is to do: help us receive his knowledge. This is a book I will keep for many years and plan to turn to often.
NOTE: In accordance with the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I received a complementary copy of the aforementioned text for the purposes of review. I was not required to furnish a positive review.