Preaching Christ in Proverbs

When I look to the future and see myself pastoring in a church (and teaching history DV), I sometimes wonder about how I will manage to preach the whole counsel of God in my lifetime. I don’t pretend that I’ll do long, Lloyd-Jones-esque sermons on Romans, but I wonder if I’ll preach through the whole Bible in some detail. I’m sure that I’ll gravitate to the hefty (and fun!) books like Romans, Galatians, John, Genesis, Isaiah, etc. But there will be books that will offer some challenge. One such challenge is the Book of Proverbs. How does one preach Proverbs staying faithful to the redemptive-historical issues of the grander biblical storyline? In this Old Testament wisdom book there is no mention of the Messiah, so how does Christ connect? What steps can be taken to make sure that the sermons don’t become a tireless (and tiring) list of moralistic do’s and don’t’s?
One way is to get Bruce Waltke’s commentary and to read the section on Proverbs in Dillard and Longman. Another added source is the recent article at Reformation 21 called “Does Proverbs Speak of Jesus?” by Anthony Selvaggio. Here’s a hint at what the article tackles. He gives me hope!

In researching this question, I found that many Old Testament scholars
contend that Proverbs is entirely void of legitimate allusions or connections to
Jesus Christ. After all, Proverbs does not include any specific prophetic
references to the Messiah. These scholars contend that all efforts to find
Christ in Proverbs are ultimately disrespectful to the Old Testament text
because they fail to take the Old Testament at face value. While I
understand where these scholars are coming from, I can’t agree with their
interpretative perspective. I am fully convinced that there are legitimate
connections between Proverbs and Jesus and that these connections can be made
without showing disrespect to the Old Testament. In this article, I will
briefly outline what I believe are four legitimate connections between Proverbs
and Jesus.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Preaching Christ in Proverbs

  1. Mark

    I just completed reading through Proverbs in my second straight-through reading of the Bible and I was struck by how many Proverbs are referred to in the New Testament.

    They may not all have been direct quotes, but when you read the Proverbs, you can’t help but recall the many times the New Testament is obviously referring to the Proverbs.

    I think Romans/Hebrews/James/Peter are particularly rife with references to the Proverbs.

  2. Mark

    For example: When we hear “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”, most of us instinctively think of the NT, but it is found in Proverbs first.

  3. Allen R. Mickle, Jr.

    Ian,

    Waltke has an excellent series in Bibliotheca Sacra this year on “Fundamentals for Preaching the Book of Proverbs.” Also Greg Parsons had an article called “Guidelines for Understanding and Proclaiming the Book of Proverbs” in Bibliotheca Sacra in 1993. You can access it online here (http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/20-Proverbs/Text/Articles/Parsons-ProvGuidelines-BS.pdf).

    Allen

  4. Ian

    Mark and Allen: thanks to both for the very useful thoughts and resources. Much appreciated!

  5. Ruben

    It is good that we have Proverbs to remind us that the Bible gives not only redemptive-historical statements but also redemptive-moral statement.

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