Book Reviews

Practicing Proverbs

Wise Living for Foolish Times

Richard Mayhue Fearn, Scotland 2004-03-01

Someone has quipped that the subjects in the Book of Proverbs change as often as names in a phone book. Because of the variety of topics and the quick, almost jolting change of subject matter with almost every verse, authors, teachers, and students have attempted to group the verses by topics. Numbers of topics vary, with one author having 156. In this book Mayhue, executive vice-president of The Master’s College and Seminary, lists all 915 verses of Proverbs and arranges them in 52 categories, one for each week of the year. In turn these 52 are arranged in six groups: spiritual wisdom (16 topics), personal wisdom (16 topics), family wisdom (8 topics), intellectual wisdom (5 topics), marketplace wisdom (4 topics), and societal wisdom (3 topics). Actually there are 41 separate topics, because more than one week is given to certain topics (viz., righteousness/justice; foolishness; tongue/words/listening; children; parents; and wisdom).

Thus the bulk of the book (pp. 79–218) consists of listing all the verses from Proverbs under the 41 topics, all from the English Standard Version.

Earlier chapters discuss introductory matters (authors, theme, purpose, audiences, principles of interpretation), the fear of the Lord in relation to wisdom, and how to obtain wisdom. An interesting chapter discusses ten choices people make, based on the 21 verses in Proverbs that use the words “better than”: wisdom or wealth, humility or pride, the fear of the Lord or not, love or hate, righteousness or injustice, peace or anger, integrity or deceitfulness, a loving or a contentious wife, love expressed or suppressed, and faithful or undependable.

Though Practicing Proverbs is not a verse-by-verse commentary, it does introduce readers to this remarkably practical Bible book and challenges them to meditate on and follow its life-changing instructions. Pastors, counselors, teachers, parents—in fact every believer—can benefit from this book that puts Proverbs at their fingertips.

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Roy B. Zuck
Roy B. Zuck, was senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary and editor of Bibliotheca Sacra.
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