Preaching Christ from Wisdom Literature

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Freshman
I recently spoke with Sidney Greidanus about preaching Christ properly from the Old Testament and we came to the issue of preaching Christ from Wisdom Literature. He thinks that Wisdom Literature is the most difficult type of biblical literature to preach Christ from because there is no real connection in it to the Person of Christ or the Work of Christ (the two categories that are typically used to get to Christ from the Old Testament). He suggested that it is legitimate to create another category from which we may get to Christ from Wisdom Literature, namely, the wisdom of Christ, that is, the teachings of Christ.

I didn´t have much time to work more of his thoughts from him, but I´ll have more from him on this subject on tape soon.

What do you guys think?
...which is Christ,
Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
"Christ... the wisdom of God." 1 Cor. 1:24

This doesn't make preaching OT wisdom any easier, but it is the starting point, I think. I also think that it is precisely here that the most radical redemptive-historical proponents (the ones who actually condemn practical application) are truly at a loss. Can Proverbs--that surely puts on paper the lived-out wisdom of not only Solomon, who frequently erred, but preeminently Christ, who was "greater than Solomon"--can it be preached without a "go and do likewise" motif everywhere and always?

In addition, Proverbs 8 is quite arguably about none other than Christ (the feminine gender notwithstanding, "wisdom" is simply a "feminine" term in Hebrew, just like in Greek, but without old-gnostic/modern-feministic connotations).

Job has a similar passage on wisdom, ch. 28. And a standard NT interpretation of the manifested Jehovah of the OT (whenever, wherever, however, every "thus saith the Lord," every single Word in fact) is theophany of Christ, so n.b. God in the tempest, chs. 39-41.

Song of Solomon has a long history of Christological interpretation.

Ecclesiastes is admittedly difficult (the first, and only, true "apologetic" treatise in Scripture). Its subject is so much the 'negation' of human philosophy. God's wisdom is played up in contrast.

I'm assuming the Psalms are excepted from the question, being so devotional, and obviously Christological. Even in the NT the inner spiritual (emotional and devotional) life of our Savior is not as fulsomely disclosed. This is beside the Messianic indicators, of which the Psalms are replete.
:amen::ditto::amen: Well said, Bruce.

The whole of Scripture is about Christ and given that Christ is the wisdom of God, the wisdom literature quite naturally is full of Christ.

As Augustine said, the voice of Christ and his church is well-nigh the only voice to be heard in the Psalms.

Proverbs 8 is most definitely about Christ. I commend Matthew Henry's commentary on this chapter.

And here is James Durham's commentary on the Song of Songs, in which he sees Christ and the church.

Christ said of himself in relation to Solomon, the wisest of men: The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (Matt. 12.42)

Christ expounded upon himself in the scriptures with his disciples on the road to Emmaus with Moses and the prophets, but most certainly all of scripture speaks to us of Christ, including the wisdom literature.
I think it would be helpful to understand the Wisdom literature within the framework of the OT worldview. The theology of these texts are assumed, not necessarily propounded. They are thus commands for practical living for God's redeemed people. They are not just pithy sayings that apply to any religion. You cannot isolate them from the redemptive culture in which they were written and for whom they were written. From there we can extrapolate and apply the text to ourselves today.
I think it was Waltke who said about the Proverbs: "Taken one at a time, they are not true." His point was that they are all about Christ and must be understood from a Christological perspective. Now, how he actually did that is another matter.
Not open for further replies.