Preaching Connection: Wisdom

Reading for Preaching

The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age

In 17th century Amsterdam, residents of the city’s Tugthuis (jail) were given lessons in wisdom literature. In fact a special edition of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Ecclesiasticus was published just for prison use. It was thought that since the jail was meant to cure, among others, spongers, idlers, and beggars the anti-sloth passages of Scripture seemed...
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Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life

“The Gulf Stream will flow through a straw provided the straw is aligned to the Gulf Stream, and not at cross purposes with it.” (P. 156) “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.” (P. 163) Quotes Donald Barthelme’s observation: “’Truth is a hard apple to...
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Wisdom and Innocence: A Biography of G. K. Chesterton

When GK was five his brother Cecil Edward was born. GK said: “’Now I shall always have an audience.’” But what he got was a heckler. “’We argued throughout our boyhood and youth until we became the pest of our whole social circle. We shouted at each other across the table, on the subject of...
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Additional content related to Wisdom

Psalm 111

In a recent sermon commentary on another psalm, I observed that although the poetry of the Psalms and the wisdom literature of Proverbs or Ecclesiastes are distinct in terms of biblical literary genre, there is a lot of crossover between the Books of Psalms and Proverbs.  Psalm 111 is another example of this with its…

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Psalm 49:1-12

At times there is a very fine line separating the poems we call Psalms from the biblical literature we call Wisdom such as in the Book of Proverbs.  Psalm 49 is a classic example of a definite blurring of that fine line.  In fact, Psalm 49 sounds sufficiently like any number of passages in Proverbs…

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Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Are the Lectionary folks winking at us a bit with this text selection for Trinity Sunday?  Obviously you don’t get any robust Trinitarian texts anywhere in the Old Testament.  If it is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit you are looking for—or any combo of a couple of those at least—then Proverbs or Psalms or anywhere…

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Psalm 90:12-17

The middle section of Psalm 90 – omitted by this week’s lection in the RCL – deals with the wrath of God, and that is probably why the Lectionary averts its eyes from that part on every occasion when Psalm 90 pops up in the Lectionary.  Yet it is a key part of what is…

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Proverbs 31:10-31

What are we to make of this conclusion to Proverbs?  In the past some women saw it as a kind of blueprint for life and so were honored if they could be seen as fitting this profile of the “wife of noble character.”  Not surprisingly, more recent times have witnessed other reactions.  Some now more-or-less…

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James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

My friend whom I’ll call Wayne is struggling to submit to God (4:7) right now. In fact, that struggle has produced a fairly deep crisis of faith in him. Yet to Wayne’s credit, he’s honest enough to share that struggle with me as well as seek my help in becoming more submissive to God. Wayne…

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Proverbs 1:20-33

In Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus Socrates tells an ancient Egyptian legend about a king named Thamus and a god named Theuth.  Theuth, it seems, was an inventor of great tools and new technologies.  One day he showed King Thamus a vast array of his inventions, climaxing with his most recent innovation: writing.  The inventor proudly told…

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2 Corinthians 6:1-13

2 Corinthians 6 virtually drips with pathos. It reveals the heart of an apostle who has been both reconciled to God and invites others to be reconciled to God, but has been stonewalled by people to whom he longs to be reconciled. While God has graciously reconciled Paul to himself, Paul’s friends in Corinth have…

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I Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15)

After our celebrations of the mighty acts of God from Advent to Pentecost, the prospect of entering Ordinary Time might seem like a bit of a downer.  But the Old Testament readings for the next couple of months plunge us right into the kind of social and political turmoil that characterizes our own time. To…

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Psalm 49:1-12

At times there is a very fine line separating the poems we call Psalms from the biblical literature we call Wisdom such as in the Book of Proverbs.   Psalm 49 is a classic example of a definite blurring of that fine line.  In fact, Psalm 49 sounds sufficiently like any number of passages in Proverbs…

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Comments, Observations, and Questions to Consider. Ever been to a Corn Maze? If you look at the maze from the outside, the perimeter, it looks like a harmless old corn field.  Very different when you view it from smack in the middle, the inside, trying to find your way. And of course, the view is…

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