Friday, May 3, 2019

Bible Challenge: Wisdom Literature

The last section of the Bible Challenge for the 2018-2019 program year is Wisdom Literature.

Wisdom Literature is the term used to cover the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon.

Most of us are somewhat familiar with the Psalms, if only because one is always included on Sunday mornings.  The other four books are probably less familiar.

They are called "Wisdom Literature" both because of the content of the books and the style of them.  Starting with style.  They are all, in the main, books of poetry.  That doesn't mean that they all rhyme, but they are all poetic books.  They make extensive use of symbolism.  They also all show the characteristic repetition of the same idea in two different ways of Hebrew poetry.

The content is, broadly, about human response to environment and events.  The books all contain a variety of reflections on how people, individuals and nations, attempt to come to terms with their reactions to the work of God in their lives and the world around them.

These books were some of the last to come into their final forms, Psalms was the earliest to reach its current form, while many of the psalms are more ancient, the last edits to the book as we have it happened only a couple of hundred years before the birth of Jesus.  The final editing of the other books happened after that. 

As you read these books, remember that they are poetry, so look for symbolism and meanings beyond the words themselves.

The Bible Challenge will take a break for the summer.  Year Two of the Bible Challenge will begin in the fall.