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Products>Finding Favour in the Sight of God: A Theology of Wisdom Literature (New Studies in Biblical Theology, vol. 46 | NSBT)

Finding Favour in the Sight of God: A Theology of Wisdom Literature (New Studies in Biblical Theology, vol. 46 | NSBT)

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There has been an explosion of interest in wisdom literature, and many studies are now available. There is every opportunity for people to “get wisdom, get insight” (Prov. 4:5). However, in today’s world it seems the practical sensibilities that come from wisdom are found in very few places. Wisdom literature is needed now more than ever. By walking in the way of wisdom, we will “find favour and good success in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:4).

In this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume, Richard Belcher begins with a survey of the problem of wisdom literature in Old Testament theology. Subsequent chapters focus on the message and theology of the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. These point forward to the need for Christ and the gospel. Belcher concludes by exploring the relationship of Christ to wisdom in terms of his person, work, and teaching ministry.

Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.

View more volumes in the New Studies in Biblical Theology Series

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Key Features

  • Traces the theme of wisdom through Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes
  • Contrasts biblical wisdom with wordly wisdom
  • Explores related themes of education, God’s sovereignty, and the meaning of life


  • The problem of wisdom literature in Old Testament theology
  • The message of Proverbs 1–9
  • The hermeneutics of Proverbs
  • The theology of Proverbs
  • Theological issues in Job 1–3
  • Divine retribution, suffering and God’s justice (Job 4–26)
  • Where is wisdom to be found? (Job 27–42)
  • Key questions concerning the book of Ecclesiastes
  • The message of Qohelet
  • The theology of Ecclesiastes
  • Jesus and wisdom

Top Highlights

“As a general rule, proverbs should be understood as situationally specific and not universally true. They express truth but not the whole truth. They are partial utterances that are not able to assert qualifications or exceptions that may be significant.” (Page 48)

“And yet ‘to know wisdom and instruction’ is not just learned through experience but also requires the proper foundation: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge’ (1:7). The fear of the Lord refers primarily to a subjective response of humility, love and trust in God so that a person is willing to submit his or her life to the ways of God. It is a God-centred view of life that includes a reverence for God. As the beginning of knowledge, the fear of the Lord is the first and controlling principle of a person’s life.26 Without it wisdom, as defined by God, is not attainable. The fear of the Lord is not used as often in the NT as in the OT (Acts 9:31; Phil. 2:12; Col. 3:22; Rev. 19:5), but is associated with those who follow God’s way of repentance and faith.” (Page 21)

“Proverbs 16–22 contain very few antithetical proverbs. Instead, they contain a number of proverbs, called ‘better-than’ proverbs, that show exceptions to the general teaching of the two ways.” (Page 49)

“The powers of the age to come have broken into history in the kingdom of Christ, but the fullness of deliverance and restoration awaits his second coming. Until then, wisdom literature helps God’s people successfully navigate the pitfalls of life.” (Page 14)

“Life in the book of Proverbs should not be limited to life in this world because the fullness of life associated with Yahweh cannot be limited to life in this world.” (Page 72)

Praise for the Print Edition

Richard Belcher carefully sifts recent approaches to Old Testament wisdom... This thoughtful book, like the wisdom it seeks to explore, will open up fresh horizons of reflection, and... make its readers wiser than they were before.

D.A. Carson

Product Details

Richard P. Belcher Jr. is the John D. and Frances M. Gwin Professor of Old Testament and Academic Dean at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. His books include Job: The Mystery of Suffering and God’s Sovereignty, Ecclesiastes: A Mentor Commentary, and Prophet, Priest, and King. He is a contributor to IVP’s Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Writings and Poetry.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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    Digital list price: $27.99
    Save $8.00 (28%)