Old Testament

Wisdom Literature

What is Wisdom Literature? – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. Wisdom literature maintains that there is a type of knowledge of God and God’s ways that is discoverable not through revealed law but from the natural world. Is this a dichotomy that still holds today?
  2. How do we as modern readers vest authority in the wisdom books despite their self-consciously non-divine origins? Why is ancient parental or scribal wisdom part of our scriptural canon?
  3. Is “wisdom” an eternal constant, or is it culturally and contextually dependent?

Application Questions:

  1. If we reframe “wisdom literature” as instructional texts, it becomes easier to see the contradictions within them. Whose instruction do you follow in your life, and is that instruction contradictory? What can we make of that?
  2. Do you find the Bible is instructional for current, every-day life, generally speaking?  
  3. Does thinking about wisdom literature as self-aware and man-made change the way you view proverbial biblical wisdom?   
Yale Bible Study