Kirk and Dan begin there series on the book of Ecclesiastes. In this episode they look at the method that Ecclesiastes uses to communicate its message, namely how it functions as a unique expression of wisdom literature.
On Sunday, January 24th, 2016, I began a Core Seminar on Redemptive History & Biblical Theology at my church, Lake Drive Baptist Church. During the course of this series I’ll be sending out emails recapping lessons and directing recipients to resources for further study.
Rather than just share these recaps with my church family, I’ve decided to share them here on the blog for anyone else who might be interested. I will be posting them occasionally over the next couple of months on a weekly basis or so.
See previous posts:
- Introducing Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/24/16)
- The Significance and Relevance of Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/31/16)
- Foundational Principles and Basic Frameworks for Redemptive History and Biblical Theology (LDBC Recap 2/7/16)
- Redemptive-Historical, Biblical-Theological Hermeneutics (LDBC Recap 2/14/16 Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 1 | Creation (LDBC Recap 2/14/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 2 | The Fall (LDBC Recap 2/21/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 3 | The Flood & Noahic Covenant (LDBC Recap 2/28/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 4 | Abrahamic Covenant & the Patriarchs (LDBC Recap 3/6/16 Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 5 | The Exodus (LDBC Recap 3/6/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 6 | The Mosaic Covenant (LDBC Recap 3/13/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 7 | The Wilderness Wanderings (LDBC Recap 3/20/16, Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 8 | Entrance and Life in the Promised Land (LDBC Recap 3/20/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 9 | The Monarchy & Davidic Covenant (LDBC Recap 3/20/16 Pt. 2)
We continue this week’s core seminar recap with a brief–and I mean brief–survey of the wisdom literature and the psalms.
Role within redemptive history
God supplies wisdom and songs for his covenant-bound, new-creational kingdom people.
The wisdom literature and songs (psalms) lead God’s people to live properly as his redemptive-historical people with regards to (a) how they are to relate and respond to God (worship and prayer [think: the psalms]), (b) down to earth, everyday, practical living (think: Proverbs), and (c) abstract questions about life (think especially Job and Ecclesiastes).
These books–Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon–are often the ones that feel the least “redemptive-historical.” They feel the least storied, in other words. The least related to the movement of God’s saving purposes across Biblical history. They feel closer to what we might call “timeless truths.”
But, even still, these books still assume redemptive-historical realities. They have redemptive history in their background.
For example, their guidance assumes the realities of redemptive history like…
(a) God’s original creation design…
e.g., Proverbs understands wisdom as something built into the fabric of creation (see Prov 8).
(b) The fall and the entrance of evil and sin into that design…
e.g., the account of Job is only possible in a world of suffering and evil. Or, again, the book of Ecclesiastes warns us of our sinful (i.e., fallen) tendency to seek meaning apart from God.
And (c) God’s activity to restore his creation through salvation and judgment…
e.g., the Psalms speak of God’s saving activity and his promises to save in the future, i.e., redemptive-historical promises.
Or, again, Proverbs makes clear that wisdom begins with something of a converted state–a disposition that is called “fearing God.” As such, Proverbs assumes the fall, that we are all sinful “fools” who need to be rightly re-oriented to God (conversion, regeneration).
In addition, these songs and wisdom books equip God’s people to live out that role as his redemptive-historical people in the nitty gritty aspects of every day life, in the midst of the full-range of human emotions and experiences.
Overview of Biblical material
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
- Wisdom: Wisdom literature provides guidance (wisdom = “The skill of living successfully in God’s created but fallen world”) for God’s redemptive-historical people to live as God’s redemptive-historical people.
- Job – Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know (e.g., the cause of suffering) while remembering who does.
- Proverbs – Wisdom is living godly (= the beginning of wisdom is fearing God [chs.1-9]; and here is what that looks like [chs.10-31]).
- Ecclesiastes – Wisdom is avoiding the trap of seeking to find meaning apart from God.
- Song of Solomon – Wisdom is relishing sexuality within marriage.
- Songs (Psalms) – The psalms are scripts that lead us to respond and relate to God properly in the midst of the full range of human emotions and experiences.
And, so, in closing, to recap the role of these books within redemptive history–God supplies wisdom and songs for his covenant-bound, new-creational kingdom people.