This book by Kathleen Nielson is a labor of love. She beautifully summarizes Proverbs’ main themes and gives us helpful applications throughout. She shows us how the book of Proverbs asks us to consider wisdom and to reject folly. The call to hear instruction, grounded in the fear of the Lord forms the foundation of the book of Proverbs and Nielson brings that out with stunning clarity. I think she is an excellent writer!
I especially enjoyed her study of the first ten instructions from father to son in the early chapters of Proverbs. She consistently points out that living a life of wisdom is living a life of active relationship with the Lord, i.e., living in the fear of the Lord. She defines this fear of the Lord as “reverencing Him for who He is according to His Word.” She also shows us that Proverbs is a book of relationships (father-son, mother-son, husband-wife, etc) and the starting point of each of these relationships is the relationship with this Lord whom we are called to fear. She also shows us that “Jesus is the full and final context of Proverbs’ wisdom”. I love her relentless focus on the gospel!
Kathleen shows us that the voice of wisdom is the voice of God Himself and it is a voice that needs to be sought after. In other words, we need to listen to this voice consistently if we are to gain wisdom. This voice is found in God’s Word. Through the father’s instructions to the son, she encourages us to stay off the wrong path, but also to consistently seek and obediently walk on the good path, till the end. There is also the voice of folly calling the son to stray off the path of wisdom. In the initial chapters, this voice of folly is seen in the adulteress or the forbidden woman. We also see folly’s voice in the sluggard throughout the book of Proverbs. Another theme that consistently shows up is the folly of the fool’s words. The other themes that also make a regular appearance are the themes of wealth and justice.
We continue to see this stark contrast between the righteous and the wicked or the upright and the treacherous throughout the book of Proverbs. The consistent message of the book is to choose wisdom and reject folly, all grounded in an active relationship with the Lord. I also loved her summary of the last chapter of Proverbs, which is the poem of the excellent wife. Kathleen observes that this woman is a woman who works hard; she is a woman who works willingly to serve those around her; she makes things in her work; she cares for the needy and most importantly, she fears the Lord. Kathleen does an excellent job summarizing the key themes of these last chapters, just like she did for the initial few chapters.
Overall, I found the book to refresh my soul. There is tremendous wisdom in the book of Proverbs and if we listen carefully, we too can gain this wisdom. Kathleen Nielson is a reliable guide lighting up this path of wisdom, showing us the relevant themes of the book and applying these truths to the modern reader. The God’s Word for You series is building up a solid reputation with its reader-friendly and practical books. This book is no different and I am very glad to commend it to you. 5/5 stars.
*I received this complimentary book from the Good Book Company, but was not required to write a positive review.*