How to Read Proverbs
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.
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.
"A brilliant blend of in-depth scholarship with an easy-to-understand conversational narrative. . . . An enjoyable read and a good guide for those who desire to explore the path of biblical wisdom."
"This handy volume will solve the riddle of the book of Proverbs for many. Longman's guidance for interpreting biblical proverbs in general is lucid and his clarification of special issues raised by Proverbs extremely helpful. A must-read for all who study and teach the book."
Part One: Understanding Proverbs
1. Why Read Proverbs?
2. Walking on the Path of Life
3. Woman Wisdom or Folly--Which Will It Be?
4. What Exactly is a Proverb--and How Does It Work?
5. Are Proverbs Always True?
Part Two: Reading Proverbs in Context
6. Did Soloman Know Amenemope and Ahiqar? Biblical Proverbs and International Wisdom
7. Proverbs in Conversation with Job and Ecclesiastes
8. Proverbial Wisdom in Action: Joseph and Daniel
9. Where is God in Proverbs? Christ, the Treasure of God's Wisdom
Part Three: Following the Themes in Proverbs
10. How to Study Themes in Proverbs: Money Matters
11. On Loving the Right Woman
12. Wise Words, Foolish Words
Conclusion: Principles for Reading the Book of Proverbs
Appendix 1: Authorship and Date of the Book of Proverbs
Appendix 2: Commentaries on the Book of Proverbs