Brevard Childs’ Priceless (and Brief) Advice for Biblical Interpreters!

I read this in a chapter essay by Craig Bartholomew on Wisdom Literature in the OT.

Brevard Childs was once asked by a student how to become a better exegete of the Bible. “Become a deeper person!” replied Childs.

See “Hearing the OT Wisdom Literature,” in Hearing the Old Testament (Eerdmans), p. 309.

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Wisdom on wisdom from the wise Ellen Davis!

I love that I get to teach the Old Testament. While I feel most comfortable answering questions on the New Testament, I am stretched in all the best ways in the OT courses I teach. On Monday, I will lecture on Proverbs and I am often at a loss for what to say. I do have some general notes on structure and themes and so forth. But I want to say something really profound or inspiration. I struggle at that. I will play the music video to the song “Suncreen.” That will be interesting!

Anyway, I came across the wonderful book by Ellen Davis called Getting Involved with God. It is warm and witty and poignant. On Proverbs, Davis writes:

“This is a book for unexceptional people trying to live wisely and faithfully in the generally undramatic circumstances of daily life, on the days when water does not pour forth out of rocks and angels do not come to lunch. The Israelite sages are concerned with the same things we worry about, the things people regularly consult their pastors and friends about: how to avoid bitter domestic quarrels, what to tell your kids about sex and about God, what to do when somebody asks you to lend them money, how to handle your own money and your work life, how to cultivate lasting friendships. In short, the sages whose sayings make up Proverbs are interested in the art of living well–with others, with ourselves, with God” (pg 92).