Proverbs can bewilder pastors, especially us who want to preach Christ from all of Scriptures. But Proverbs is not just a book of helpful tips that can change behavior. The purpose of Proverbs, just like every other book of the Bible, is to save and sanctify those who read it.
This is the final post of a three part series that hopes to begin the conversation about how we can preach Proverbs so that it both leads unbelievers to Christ and explains how to be further conformed to His image.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive and in-depth look, you can check out my book “Preaching Christ from Proverbs.”
The Wisdom of God
Throughout the prologue to Proverbs, Solomon personified his wisdom as a powerful woman. Personification is giving human characteristics to an abstract idea like “Lady Justice is blind” to show the ideal of objectivity for the justice system. Solomon presented Wisdom as a woman for two reasons. First, wisdom is a feminine noun in Hebrew, and so the personification takes on the gender of the word. Second, Solomon appealed to his son to embrace the wisdom of Proverbs, and what would be more appealing to a young man than an alluring woman?
In Proverbs 8:22-31, Solomon heightened Wisdom’s description beyond what has come before. Solomon portrayed Wisdom as more than his wisdom. Wisdom is God’s wisdom. And, the New Testament reveals that Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). So, for a number of reasons, Wisdom can no longer be seen as merely a poetic device.
First, Wisdom is the only begotten child of God (Proverbs 8:22). Revelation 3:14 alludes to this exact phrase in Proverbs 8:22 and applies it to Jesus. This statement does not mean that Jesus was created, but rather that he is supreme over the Creation. After all, he is God’s only begotten son (John 3:16). He is the wisdom of God.
Second, Wisdom existed prior to the creation of the world (Proverbs 8:23-27). The New Testament discloses the same thing about Jesus. The night of his betrayal, Jesus prayed, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:5). Jesus existed before the Creation – He is the wisdom of God.
Finally, Proverbs 8 said that not only did Wisdom exist prior to the Creation, but Wisdom seems to have assisted in creating the world. The NIV note to Proverbs 8:30 recognizes that Wisdom was “the artisan” of the creation. The New Testament said the same thing about Jesus. Colossians 1:15-16 says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created…” Jesus is the wisdom of God who assisted him in creating the world.
Jon Akin is the Senior Pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, TN