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Wisdom Literature

Wisdom literature uses word pictures to describe every day life. Part of the greatness of these books (most of which are presented in poetry) derives from their complexity, with highly stylized structures and abundant usage of imagery and symbolism, which add multiple layers of meaning beyond just plain text.

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A great way to earn seminary credit! Earn 2 graduate credits for successfully completing this course from either Trinity Evangelical Divinity School or Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

To enroll in the course for academic credit, simply click “Take Course Now” and select “Course [Academic Credit]”.

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Instructors

Douglas Sean O'Donnell

Senior Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Doug is Senior Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Elgin, Illinois. Before that he served as Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Practical Theology at Queensland Theological College in Brisbane, Australia. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Wheaton Graduate School, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; and a PhD candidate at the University of Aberdeen. Doug is the author of several books, including commentaries on the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, the Gospel of Matthew, and John’s Epistles. With R. Kent Hughes, he wrote and edited The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry.

Robert S. Kinney

Clergy, Christ Church Vienna (Austria)

Robert Kinney serves on the clergy team at Christ Church in Vienna, Austria (Church of England, Diocese in Europe). He also serves as the Director of Ministries of the Charles Simeon Trust, where he has served since 2005. Robert earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago, an MS in Communications (Journalism) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a PhD in New Testament at the University of Bristol in England. His dissertation was published by Mohr Siebeck in the WUNT II series as Hellenistic Dimensions of the Gospel of Matthew: Background and Rhetoric. He previously served as a pastoral intern at Holy Trinity Church for six years (2002-2008) and later as University Minister (2012-2014). He is a Fellow at the Center for Pastor Theologians and also serves on the Boards of the Charles Simeon Trust of Canada and Prédica Fiel in Cuba.

David Jackman

President, Proclamation Trust (Retired)

David Jackman is the retired President of the Proclamation Trust in London and is a renowned preacher and international speaker. He studied at Trinity College, Bristol and then began as assistant minister at Above Bar Church in Southampton in 1976. After 11 years as Senior Minister, David left Above Bar in 1991 to found the Cornhill Training Course in London, beginning his official affiliation with Dick Lucas and the Proclamation Trust. David is the author of numerous books including The Message of John’s Letters and Let’s Study 1 Corinthians.

R. Kent Hughes

Pastor College Church (Retired)

Kent holds the John Boyer Chair of Evangelism and Culture and is professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is retired as Senior Pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Talbot Seminary as well as advanced degrees in ministry and divinity from Biola University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has authored numerous books including Disciplines of a Godly Man and many volumes of the Preaching the Word commentary series, of which he is the editor.

K. Edward Copeland

Pastor, New Zion Missionary Baptist Church

K. Edward Copeland serves as pastor of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois. He earned a BA from the University of Illinois, a JD from the University of California, an MDiv from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California, as well as a DMin from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has taught for the National Baptist Convention of America, USA Inc. as well as district associations, conventions, and conferences throughout the nation and across denominational lines. He is author of Riding in the Second Chariot: A Guide for Associate Ministers, and a contributing author to Entrusted with the Gospel by Crossway. He also serves as a Council Member of the Gospel Coalition.

Overview

Wisdom literature uses word pictures to describe every day life. Part of the greatness of these books (most of which ...More
Wisdom literature uses word pictures to describe every day life. Part of the greatness of these books (most of which are presented in poetry) derives from their complexity, with highly stylized structures and abundant usage of imagery and symbolism, which add multiple layers of meaning beyond just plain text.
Download Syllabus
Lesson 1

How to Handle Old Testament Poetry

David JackmanIn this opening lesson, David Jackman prepares us to better understand Wisdom Literature by helping us learn to handle Old Testament Poetry.
Lesson 2

Structure in Wisdom Literature

Robert S. KinneyIn this lesson, Robert Kinney gives us some strategies for discerning the structure of the poetic texts in Wisdom Literature.
Lesson 3

Melodic Line of Wisdom Literature

Robert S. KinneyIn this lesson, Robert Kinney helps us to better listen for the melodic line of Wisdom Literature books, and shows us the benefits of doing this well.
Lesson 4

Preaching Christ from Wisdom Literature

Douglas Sean O'DonnellIn this lesson, Doug O'Donnell shares some helpful strategies for how to legitimately preach Christ from Wisdom Literature.
Lesson 5

How to Preach Song of Songs

Douglas Sean O'DonnellIn this instruction, Doug O'Donnell serves as our guide to understanding the oft-neglected and notoriously challenging book, the Song of Solomon.  
Lesson 6

Exposition: Job 42

Douglas Sean O'DonnellIn this lesson, Doug O'Donnell preaches from Job 42.
Lesson 7

Exposition: Psalm 32

R. Kent HughesIn this exposition, Kent Hughes demonstrates how to preach a psalm from Psalm 32.
Lesson 8

Exposition: Ecclesiastes 12

K. Edward CopelandIn this final lesson on Wisdom Literature, K. Edward Copeland preaches Ecclesiastes 12. 
Bonus Feature

Context in Wisdom Literature

David JackmanIn this bonus lesson, David Jackman explores how Old Testament wisdom literature works, and particularly considers the tool of context. 
Downloads

Course Summary

This page provides additional links to all the resources and downloads you may need throughout the course.