In the past two days I have shared D A Carson’s suggested lessons from the epistolary and history genres of Scripture. What does the design of wisdom literature suggest about God, and are there implications for us as preachers?
Carson suggested the following: While there are many kinds of wisdom literature in the Bible, it is interesting how much of it thinks in polarities. Either you follow Dame Wisdom or your follow Lady Folly. The righteous and the wicked. Jesus followed in this line as a wisdom preacher. With Jesus there was no middle-sized gate, no alternative ‘cheaper than rock but stronger than sand’ foundation.
While there is potency in such polarity preaching, Carson suggested that if you only ever preach Psalm 1 to your congregation you will end up with a congregation of legalists or hypocrites (for who can truly apply the avoidance of all godless counsel?)
Implications for our preaching? I would suggest:
1. We live in a time when most people don’t seem willing to stand for anything, including many preachers. Let us have the courage to present reality in the bold relief of wisdom literature polarities.
2. I think that the “two ladies” undergirding theme in Proverbs is a much under-utilized piece of preaching power-fuel. That was also a strange sentence, but I’ll let it stand.
3. We need to preach wisdom literature. Some preachers never do.
We mustn’t always preach wisdom literature. A few preachers might.
4. We should use the opportunity to train listeners how to handle this significant part of the canon (this would apply to all my posts in this series).