9 September 2016

Proverbs 8:1-11

“Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” (vv. 10, 11)

Psalm: Psalm 1


Today's passage was recently chosen as the text for the inaugural meeting of SoulScript, an inter-faith Scripture reading group, on the theme of the divine feminine. We gathered together as Christians and Muslims to reflect on how to approach what is quite an unusual text. The personification of Wisdom (a feminine word in both Hebrew and Greek) increases in the later verses and there is some appeal in identifying Wisdom as God the Son, though the description of createdness does not fit with orthodox Christologies.

We might notice that, to some of our ears, Wisdom is less than polite - "simple ones" (v. 5). Of course, if one is being passionate and expressive, especially in a very direct culture, then speaking well might not be a concern. There is a clear message that all that is required to become wise is to listen, if only that we true. This is the superior tone used in an argument where no one else is qualified to offer a different view, an outlook which still exists in churches and religious thinking (as well as on Twitter and other social media). In response we might agree and say that Wisdom is certainly in listening, less so in speaking, as many others have said. Yet Wisdom here is offered as the voice of God and either God has difficult things to say, or difficult things are placed in the mouth of God. Perhaps, if we are truly wise, we will offer a qualified response and accept parts of what Wisdom says, testing its concepts and morality as best we can, as these are man's (or woman's) words seeking to do God's work.

To Ponder

  • What opportunities are open to you to share in reading Scripture with people of other traditions?
  • What is your take on the blending of God's message and a human's words?

Bible notes author

Julian Bond

Julian works for the Connexional Team as the grants team leader. Previous to that he was the director of the Christian Muslim Forum, which is built on friendship between a group of Christians and Muslims, showing how faith is a catalyst for good relationships and welcomes the 'other'.