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The Beginning and End of Wisdom

The Beginning and End of Wisdom: Preaching Christ from the First and Last Chapters of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job

By Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Foreword by Sidney Greidanus

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(Paperback)

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About The Beginning and End of Wisdom

The Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament can be daunting to interpret and to preach. But Douglas O’Donnell has successfully linked the messages of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job to Jesus in the New Testament. He shares six Christocentric sermons that reveal the often-overlooked shadow of the cross within this biblical genre, while addressing age-old questions of significance and suffering, the meaning of life and work, and humanity’s chief relationship between husband and wife.

Through careful examination of poetic forms, linguistic correlations, and most importantly a profound understanding of the gospel, The Beginning and End of Wisdom will help you connect Wisdom Literature to the wisdom of God found ultimately in the person of Christ.

Endorsements

“Douglas O’Donnell writes with infectious enthusiasm about the Wisdom Literature of the Bible. At a time when many Christians wonder how these books ‘fit in’ to the rest of Scripture, O’Donnell’s call to pay close attention to these books and his gripping introduction to them should be widely read.”
—Peter J. Williams, Warden, Tyndale House, Cambridge, England
“Rarely does an individual combine the precision of an exegete, the passion of a poet, and the pulse of a pastor. But Doug O’Donnell demonstrates all of these qualities in his most recent book. What is even more impressive is that O’Donnell focuses his attention on the Old Testament Wisdom Literature, one of the sections of the Bible most neglected by scholars and pastors alike. His model sermons and the hermeneutical discussions that undergird them are sure to inspire many others to follow the path that he has blazed so well.”
—Daniel J. Estes, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Cedarville University
“I have long thought that the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament is a good grid on which to introduce our unbelieving and troubled world to the gospel—it is so down-to-earth and practical. Douglas O’Donnell does this in an appealing way. His homiletical exercises in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job, conveyed in fresh, conversational prose, leads the preacher from the text to the pulpit to the pew. If a sermon is like a painting, it should always be like a Rembrandt with the famous beam of light that characterizes his portraits. O’Donnell’s model sermons glow with that beaming light of the gospel. And he helpfully instructs his readers in Chapter Seven: ‘How Shall Wisdom Be Preached?’ on the hermeneutical principles that can engage the text and enlighten the preacher for the awesome task of gospel proclamation, yes, even from the Wisdom Literature!”
—C. Hassell Bullock, Pastor, Warren Park Presbyterian Church, Cicero, Illinois; Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus, Wheaton College
“Since these days I am as likely to be sitting in a pew (or preferably, of course, a comfortable chair!) as standing in a pulpit, I am now part of that great hungry multitude hoping for help, heart nourishment for the week ahead, a true word from the Lord that a lively exposition from Holy Scripture can bring, and above all a fresh sense of the greatness of the God we know in and through Christ. These sermons of Doug O’Donnell’s, as well as the practical instructions he provides, have enriched me, as they will surely do for many others.”
—R. C. Lucas, Retired Rector, St. Helen's Church, Bishopsgate, London, England
“Doug O’Donnell’s sermons in this volume are all that a preaching commentary should be—analytic of the biblical text, wide-ranging in biblical scholarship, containing a wealth of ‘bridge building’ to everyday life, and stylistically excellent.”
—Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English, Wheaton College
“The Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament poses one of the most daunting challenges for preachers whose resolve is to preach Christ from all the Scriptures. Pastor Douglas O’Donnell offers invaluable modeling and coaching to help us explore, in practical terms, how to preach Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job in a way that both expounds the biblical texts with integrity and sets them into the larger context of the Bible’s unified witness to Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
—Dennis E. Johnson, Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California
“The church very much needs to hear preaching from Old Testament wisdom, and for that preaching to be Christian it must be faithful to the text and also point people to Christ. O’Donnell’s vision for wisdom preaching, and the sermons themselves, will serve as excellent guideposts for those who want to preach through OT wisdom books. They should inspire other preachers to work through the texts on their own with a clear vision for preaching the gospel through the wisdom God has given in Scripture.”
—Michael Graves, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
“This lively, contemporary introduction to the Old Testament Wisdom books provides an ideal way-in for today’s Christian readers—to share their wealth, learn their secrets and discern the glories of Christ in their pages. For the biblical preacher, it is packed with helpful models and practical advice on how to preach this often-neglected material with fresh power and effectiveness.”
—David Jackman, Former President, Proclamation Trust, London, England
“In an age of endless self-help courses, books, and psychobabble there are few parts of the Bible more needed than the Wisdom Literature. Christians need to learn from our creator how to live wisely in his world and, in learning this, discover how this literature leads to the gospel and points to Christ. Doug O'Donnell's book seeks to show how we may know and enjoy the Wisdom Literature and preach Christ from it. Such an enterprise is timely and helpful for those who wish to live God's way in his world.”
—Phillip D. Jensen, Dean, St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia

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Specifications

Format: Paperback
Page Count: 240
ISBN-10: 1-4335-2334-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-2334-2
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 10.4 ounces
Published: August 31, 2011

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