05 November 2010

How in the World Is Proverbs Christ-Centered?

1. Great question. Still trying to figure that out. Long way to go.

2. Reading the whole Bible through the lens of Christ is what Jesus himself demands. Jesus said our whole OT was about him (Luke 24:25-27, 44-45). He said Moses wrote about him (John 5:39-46). We have to deal with that.

3. Reading the whole Bible with a Christ-lens doesn't preclude gleaning from the Bible moral instruction for wise living. While there is a priority between these two (Christ's person/work in all Scripture, and moral instruction), it is not an absolute either/or.

4. Have you ever kept a single chapter of Proverbs for a single week? A single day? Can you identify one proverb you have unfailingly incorporated your whole life long?

There's only one way those failures are forgiven.

5. I believe Jesus alluded to himself as Wisdom in Matthew 11:19 and Matthew 12:42. Might he have had the book of Proverbs in mind? From another angle: if it was through Jesus that the world was made (John 1:1ff; Col 1:15-17), and if personified Wisdom was right there at creation (Prov 8:22-31), should we not correlate Jesus and Wisdom in some deeper, cosmic, and intercanonical sense?

6. Jesus kept the proverbs himself. Every one. He lived wisely. Perfectly wisely. So if believers are united to him, in him, and his righteousness is fully ours (1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21), isn't his keeping of the proverbs--in the most important sense if not the only sense--ours?

'Dane you scoundrel that isn't in Proverbs!' To be sure. And remember #3 above. But as evangelicals who believe the Lord himself ultimately is the Author of this Book--and I do believe this, with all my heart--we are not to read Proverbs in isolation from Genesis and Mark and Colossians any more than we read chapter 4 of a Tom Clancy novel in isolation from chapter 1 or 8 or 15. That would be an insult to Tom.

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So, to follow up on the previous post, how in the world is Proverbs Christ-centered? It isn't. The Bible is Christ-centered. And the Bible is a whole. And Proverbs is part of the Bible. Therefore while I think it is unhelpful to say Proverbs 'centers' on Christ, Proverbs is part of a whole trajectory the very meaning of which is: Jesus. Apart from Christ, therefore, it's very hard to see how Proverbs is more than handy tips.

I'd be very curious for this old chappy to weigh in here--one of my favorite preachers, who happens to be wrapping up a series on Proverbs at the moment. Correct and instruct us here Pop, and rebuke if necessary!

So thankful for the Bible.


Eric said...

For whatever it's worth . . . it seems to me that when we read Proverbs, we're reading a description of Jesus: he is that wise man, who knows how to speak and act in blessing with others, who tells the truth and suffers for it. It's like the Pentateuchal laws - they are a description of how Jesus would act. (This isn't really different from what you were saying.)

Ray Ortlund said...

No way will I rebuke you! But I will send you a copy of the book when it comes out. Then maybe you'll rebuke me.

Wader said...

Yeah buddy!