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Kathleen Nielson – Proverbs for You

The Good Book Company 249 pages Price £11.99 ISBN 978 1 78498 427 4

This guide achieves what many writers on Proverbs do not manage – a brief book that provides a helpful introduction to the compressed wisdom of Book of Proverbs.

Nielson deals with both the foundational treatment of wisdom in the more obviously structured Proverbs Chapters 1-9, and the short pithy sayings that occupy most of the rest of the book. It is to be welcomed that these sayings are not treated as a ragbag of random sayings, but with respect for the signs of arrangement in thematic couplets, clusters and strings.

Nielson is to be commended for allowing the book to communicate in the way it has been given, allowing its interlinking wisdom and echoes of previous proverbs to speak to us. I would have liked more of a hearing in the comments on Chapter 31 for it to be seen as idealised personified wisdom, rather than a checklist for a mixture of Mom, Wonder Woman and apple pie! This is a minor quibble, and I can see her point about the value of ending with a concrete, real life picture of wisdom at work.

The 21st Century is displaying more than its fair share of foolishness. We are discovering that knowledge gained from a Google search does not make us wise in the use of that knowledge. For the deeper issues of life there is little point in asking Alexa or Siri!

This book is a useful brief guide to a wise way of life, and presents life skills that are shaped by a healthy respect for and trust in the living God.  Divided into 13 chapters that cover the whole Book of Proverbs, each chapter is in two parts and these conclude with study questions.

A Really good resource both for personal and group study. Be wise. Get a copy.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex

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