I am so excited I was able to review this book before it was released last week. A Woman’s Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything is an excellent women’s devotional or bible study tool. Available from Crossway Press in ebook (11.99) or paperback (14.99) this book may be mistaken for an easy read. Style wise it certainly is clearly written and easily understood, but the content is far from easy. In fact, I am writing this review – because I think all of you should rush right out and buy the book – but I am still working my way through it myself. As I read through q portion I have to stop, ponder on the truth presented, repent, praise the Lord, and then read on. It’s taking a little more time than the average “Chicken Soup for a Chicken’s Soul” book.
She starts, as should all books of this sort, by laying a clear foundation of the gospel, and clearly laying out the truth upon which all studies of wisdom must be built: the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. In the Preface, she says, “The point of [Proverbs] is to direct us to the Giver of wisdom. . . .Wisdom is a Person, and wise is what we become through our union with him. The outworkings of wisdom – it’s fruit – discussed in the following chapters are all rooted in this truth.” With such a root, this book is a firm tree of biblical direction.
The book itself is laid out in a very clear manner. Part One is “What is Wisdom and Why Does It Matter” a fairly detailed comparison of wisdom and folly as found in Proverbs 1-3 and 8-9. Part Two is “Six Things Wise Women Know” dealing with her words, her friendships, her physical appetites, her emotions and her money and her sexuality. Finally, in Part Three, “A Portrait of Wisdom” Brownback takes a detailed look at the Proverbs 31 woman who has terrified and/or enraged women for millennia.
I am bogged down in Part Two, because as Lydia Brownback lays out the wisdom of scripture in these areas, and then contrasts them with what the Lord says is folly, I am having to stop and repent of my own folly. As soon as I do, I find her pointing me to Christ as the only one who can bring me out of folly and into wisdom. This is a fantastically gospel centered book that contains quotes from John Calvin, and the Larger Catechism. I think you should all go buy it (I may have already said that). I am going to recommend it to our women’s ministry team as a bible study for next year and you may want to do that as well.
Just to sell it a little harder, here are some of my favorite quotes:
“Wisdom is indeed clear, but it’s clarity doesn’t come in a three-easy-steps sort of way.The more we soak ourselves in God’s word, the more we will be able to readily lay hold of the wisdom we need for particular circumstances.” (p 25)
“As wisdom increases, anxiety decreases. . . Wise women know that God is trustworthy and that he can and will handle all these matters for our good and his glory. . .Wisdom isn’t so much something that God gives to us, as something he does for us . . .” (p 39)
“The world tells us to glory in our particular strengths, in what makes us measure up to or surpass the accomplishments of others. The Bible, on the other hand, tells us to rejoice that we have been made in the image of our Creator.” (p. 62)
” . . . only in the last generation has multitasking come to be considered more virtuous than moments of silence and reflective thought. “(p 65)
“If we do not cling to Christ as our anchor, we are going to look for security somewhere – everywhere – else, most usually through our relationships.” (p 80)
“Pop culture calls this “codependency.” The Bible calls it “idolatry.” Either way, God didn’t design friendship as a means for self gratification.” (p 81)
I think that gives you a snapshot into some of the reasons I am so pleased to recommend A Woman’s Wisdom, by Lydia Brownback.