This latest entry in the New Studies In Biblical Theology (NSBT) by Richard Belcher and edited by D. A. Carson presents a theology of wisdom literature. Since this series has already provided Hear My Son by Daniel Estes and Five Festal Garments by Barry Webb, I opened this volume with something of a here-we-go-again attitude. I was in that fog for a few pages before I realized that this book was a really good one. Think of a field laden with nuggets. Often, I would catch myself saying, yes, that is what that wisdom book is about!
Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes make up the bulk of this volume. Since they each provide their own difficulties, help is appreciated. Theology and structural concerns shine throughout this volume.
The opening chapter explains why wisdom literature is such a challenge in the formulation of Old Testament theology. Making Creation its foundation was a reasonable hermeneutic. Chapter 2 discusses the theology of Proverbs 1-9. The structure outlined made sense to me. That’s followed by a brief chapter on the hermeneutics of Proverbs. Chapter 4 rounds out the study of Proverbs by concluding its main theological themes.
The next three chapters look at Job. For my money, this section is the richest in the book. In these chapters, I was amazed at how much he could impart to us. The chapters divide the Book of Job into three parts, but it’s so much more than that! The speeches, the structure, the theology–all so perceptive!
Ecclesiastes gets three chapters as well. If they aren’t quite as good as the ones on Job, they still are fine specimens of drawing theology out of a wisdom book. The final chapter on Jesus and wisdom makes the perfect conclusion to this book.
This book provides perfectly what you would want in this type of volume. Let’s rate it highly recommended.
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