The book of Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes, and the book of Job all make up the Old Testament wisdom literature, and together they teach us an important lesson about the meaning of life.
The Good Life
There are three books of the Bible that would later come to be called the "wisdom literature." They reveal the collected wisdom of generations of godly people and invite us to consider the complexity and simplicity of living wisely. These three books are the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Each of these books explores the same basic theme and tackles the same basic question.
In the book of Proverbs, we are given access to a perspective similar to that of a brilliant teacher, offering her insights on a wide range of subjects from relationships to wealth to spirituality. Proverbs shows us that there is an aspect of God, His wisdom, that can guide us through our lives. Proverbs personifies this wisdom as "lady wisdom" and attempts to show us that anyone can access this wisdom and make an incredible life for themselves out of the gifts that it freely offers, so long as they are careful to respect the source of this wisdom—God.
Life is Meaningless
In Ecclesiastes, three different, relatively disturbing themes are explored, all of which attempt to show that this life, at least as we know and live it, is meaningless. First, the march of time—the idea that time progresses forward and eventually we are all forgotten. Second, we are all going to die. No matter what, no matter how moral we are, human beings are destined to die. Finally, is that life has a random nature. Sometimes misfortune strikes good, wise people, and sometimes fools are rewarded. However, all these dark themes are meant to portray a much brighter message.
Throughout the book of Job, we see Job and his friends wrestling with the question of why a God who is wise and just let such horrible things happen to an innocent man. It's a question that God Himself answers, though not in the direct way Job was expecting.
Is God Wise & Just?
Instead, God takes Job on a virtual tour of the universe, giving him a tiny window into all the complexity of which God is in control. In doing this, God is showing Job that his suffering is just one tiny part of an infinitely large cosmic scheme that God is controlling through His wisdom.
Even though God's answer was more than satisfactory and even though Job was humbled by it, God still chose to restore all Job's blessings to him. Our problems are still important to God and that we should still trust Him to look over us. Together, all three of these wisdom books show us the meaning of life and what it means to live in the wisdom of God.
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How to Read The Bible
This is a starter video series that helps you read the Bible while understanding its unique design and literary devices.
Tim Mackie & Whitney Woollard
When you turn to the book of Proverbs and read the opening line, “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel” (1:1), you expect to start reading proverbs—short, clever sayings that pack a punch and offer you some kind of wisdom on the good life. But that’s not what...
7 Episodes •
Follow discussions between Tim & Jon as they prepare to write scripts for our three videos on the wisdom books. Dive into Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job now!
Wisdom Series Episode 1
Intro to the Wisdom Literature
Tim and Jon discuss the Wisdom Literature in the Bible: the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job.
All of these books are wrestling with a particular set of questions. We’ll talk about how we got these wisdom books in our holy scriptures We’ll discuss why there are three different books with three very different perspectives on why their is suffering in the world and the perspective we should have on how to live.
Wisdom Series Episode 2
This book is for understanding Proverbs and Parables and Riddles for the wise. This book claims that there is a powerful, mysterious force in the universe called Hochma, we translate into “Wisdom". Wisdom is built into the universe principle in which the whole universe is ordered and which it coheres. The book starts with nine chapters of speeches encouraging us to seek after Hochma.
Wisdom Series Episode 3
Ecclesiastes E1: Not Another Proverbs...
The book of Ecclesiastes is a unique book in the Bible that has delighted and confused Christians throughout the years. It is our second book in the Wisdom Series. One thing that makes it unique is where scripture relies on ancient wisdom as core to understanding God’s world, Ecclesiastes’ Wisdom is based off of experimentation. The core conclusion of Ecclesiastes is that life is Hevel. “Hevel, Hevel, everything is Hevel.” And while modern translations typically translate that Hebrew word as “Meaningless”. And it is all over the book. In Hebrew, it is the word for smoke or vapor.