How to Read the Bible – Wisdom Literature

The wisest king of Israel, King Solomon, is associated with three books of the Bible: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Each book offers a unique perspective on how humans can rule with wisdom and the fear of the Lord. In this video, we briefly explore how the message of each book fits into the overall story of the Bible.

Proverbs – This book is the accumulation of wisdom from generations of godly insightful people. It promotes a life of virtue and “fear of the Lord,” so that you can truly experience the good life. Proverbs is one of the three books that explore these themes of biblical wisdom.

Ecclesiastes – In this book we hear the skeptical voice of “the teacher.” He observes that living by the book of Proverbs doesn’t always bring positive results. Sometimes life is hard and defies neat explanations. How do you live with that tension, and still strive for wisdom? In Ecclesiastes, three different, relatively disturbing themes are explored, all of which attempt to show that this life, at least as we know and live it, is meaningless. First, the march of time—the idea that time progresses forward and eventually we are all forgotten. Second, we are all going to die. No matter what, no matter how moral we are, human beings are destined to die. Finally, is that life has a random nature. Sometimes misfortune strikes good, wise people, and sometimes fools are rewarded. However, all these dark themes are meant to portray a much brighter message.

Song of Songs – The Song of Songs is a collection of ancient Israelite love poems that celebrate the beauty and power of God’s gift of love and sexual desire.

Job – How do you trust God even when life isn’t fair and you suffer for no good reason? Job’s story invites us to consider what it means that God runs the world by wisdom, and how this truth can bring peace in dark times. Throughout the book of Job, we see Job and his friends wrestling with the question of why a God who is wise and just let such horrible things happen to an innocent man. It’s a question that God Himself answers, though not in the direct way Job was expecting.

Instead, God takes Job on a virtual tour of the universe, giving him a tiny window into all the complexity of which God is in control. In doing this, God is showing Job that his suffering is just one tiny part of an infinitely large cosmic scheme that God is controlling through His wisdom.

Even though God’s answer was more than satisfactory and even though Job was humbled by it, God still chose to restore all Job’s blessings to him. Our problems are still important to God and that we should still trust Him to look over us. Together, all three of these wisdom books show us the meaning of life and what it means to live in the wisdom of God.