The Book of Proverbs

proverbsThe Book of Proverbs is an anthology of collections of sayings and instructions. The individual sayings and instructions are old, but collecting them together and adding an introduction (Chapters 1-9) is something that happened, most likely, in the early period after the return to Palestine from the Babylonian Exile (late 6th century BCE).  The primary purpose of the book is to teach wisdom, not only to the young and inexperienced (1:2–4) but also to the advanced (1:5–6). Wisdom in the ancient Near East was not theoretical knowledge but rather practical expertise. Tradesmen using their skills were wise; Artists, too. Leaders, Judges and Kings who contributed to peace and prosperity in the land were wise. One could be wise in daily life, too, in knowing how to live successfully and without trouble in God’s universe. Ultimately wisdom, or “sound guidance” (1:5), aims at the formation of character.

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Great-CommissionDoubt/hesitation. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted (Mt 28:17 – part of the gospel for Holy Trinity Sunday). Many English translations offer “but some doubted.” Unfortunately the word “some” does not appear in the Greek text. The only two valid translations are “they worshiped, but they doubted (hesitated)” or “they worshiped and they doubted (hesitated).” It is hard to avoid the simple statement of the text: those who worship are also those who doubt.

Mark Allan Powell writes about this verse in his book, Loving Jesus [121]. Continue reading

A certain lack of clarity

DiscernmentIt would seem this is post 3 of 3 about how I ended up in Kenya. In the two preceding days I posted about the role of memory and serendipity. But I think the original inquiry from a regular reader was probably most interested in the discernment process, and how I gained clarity on what the Spirit might be calling me to do. As part of mission formation we were encouraged to journal. One of our assignments was about discerning the call to mission. I did not record a full fledged account of my discernment, but I did record this: Continue reading