References to: Tim Finlay and Jim Herst

The Key to Biblical Poetry

How can we increase in biblical understanding? One way is to learn more about biblical poetry. Several books in the Bible are written either totally or predominantly in poetry: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Lamentations. Moreover, many parts of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Minor Prophets are also written in poetry. And we shall see that the most important poetic effects in biblical poetry can be appreciated even in an English translation.

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Song of Songs: A Lover's Paradise

The bond of love

One of God’s greatest gifts to humanity is the special bond of love between a husband and wife. From the beginning, God intended for a man to leave his parents "and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

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The Limits of Wisdom

In this series, we have commented on the tremendous value of wisdom. The wisdom literature, especially Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, gives us many insights into our daily lives. Yet wisdom alone cannot solve all our problems. This is vividly illustrated by the life of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived.

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Ecclesiastes: The Voice of Experience

Thesis: chapter 1:1-2

Solomon packed more experience into one lifetime than most people dream of. He built the great temple in Jerusalem and numerous other projects. He studied and taught about many aspects of nature: animals, birds, reptiles, fish and plant life (1 Kings 4:32-34). He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He wrote songs and spoke proverbs, many of which are preserved in the book of Proverbs. Toward the end of his life, Solomon looked back on what he had learned. He recorded his observations in what is now known as the book of Ecclesiastes.

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Exploring Ecclesiastes
solomon supervising some construction
Solomon boasted: "I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them" (Ecclesiastes 2:4-5).
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The Numbers Game

Some people insist on forcing contrived numerical patterns into the biblical text, which lead to spectacular, but unwarranted, conclusions. Such methods should not be used to establish doctrines, personal or church traditions, or to calculate precise dates for the future fulfillment of prophetic events. Nevertheless, the Hebrews did use alphabetical and numerical patterns for structural purposes, and discovering those patterns will help us to appreciate the skill with which they imparted their wisdom.

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Proverbs: Words of Wisdom

The Importance of Wisdom: Chapters 1-9

tools
In the ancient Near East, scribes used different types of writing material and instruments. For writing on papyrus (left), a reed was split or cut to act as a brush. In later times, reeds were cut to a point and split like a quill pen (see 3 John 13). Ink was usually charcoal mixed with gum or oil.
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Exploring Proverbs
woman
Personified as a woman, wisdom states, "Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors....
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Psalms in the New Testament
Peter preaching to a crowd, by Winston Taylor
Peter quoted Psalm 110:1 in his sermon on Pentecost: "The Lord said unto my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

The book of Psalms had an immense influence on New Testament writers.

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Psalms: Thematic Collections

Different collections of Psalms

In general, the psalms do not follow each other in any discernible pattern. One psalm may be a prayer of petition, the next a song of thanksgiving and the next some other type. Similarly, the subjects they discuss may be unrelated.

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