What is wisdom? This study of the book of Proverbs investigates the nature of wisdom in the Biblical tradition, its meaning as a discipline for our lives and as a primordial connection with God the Creator, and the way in which early Christians and later mystics understood wisdom as an image of God with us.
Offered in four parts, the study examines excerpts from the book of Proverbs and considers narrative and theological interpretations of the wisdom tradition in the New Testament. Special consideration is given to the personification of wisdom as a woman, and what the voice of the wise woman, the female voice of wisdom, means within the book of Proverbs itself and within the larger story of the Bible, particularly in contrast to more patriarchal aspects of scripture.
Crucial too is the way wisdom offers us a different kind of knowledge from legal, doctrinal, prophetic, and historical thinking in the Bible, complementary but distinct in nature from these other modes of thinking. This provides a helpful parallel with the contemporary debate between faith and science, so often bluntly limited in its conception of the range of understanding to which human beings are invited by God. Instead, Proverbs presents wisdom as a deep vein running throughout the created order, of which human being and the human mind are a part, not separate.
Participants are encouraged to read each passage silently, in the ancient tradition of lectio divina (sacred reading), which understands reading scripture as an act of listening for God, and thus as a receptive prayer open to God’s Spirit.
Part 1: Proverbs 1
Part 2: Proverbs 7-8
Part 3: Luke 2:41-52
Part 4: I Corinthians 1:18-31
I am especially grateful to the study circles at Landrum Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church-Woodruff, who have made this study and recording possible. Both groups meet weekly, studying a full book of the Bible every two weeks: Landrum Presbyterian at noon every Tuesday, and FPC-Woodruff at 5:30pm every Wednesday. All are welcome to attend these studies within these warm, welcoming, thoughtful, faithful congregations.