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19 B306 Wisdom Literature

Course Description

A study of the historical and sociological background, theology, and application of several types of Psalms, Proverbs, an overview of Ecclesiastes, and an emphasis on Job.

Course Rational

This course allows a student to handle the range of genre covered by the wisdom and poetic literature. These types of literature are more difficult to interpret accurately because the historical and literary contexts are not always obvious. Students can gain skill in interpreting the elements of poetry and explore the literary and historical contexts when known. This will enable more accurate preaching and teaching. Also, this part of the Bible contains prophecies that have been clearly identified as messianic. Helping a student handle both the immediate (at the time of writing) and the prophetic contexts of those passages is important for understanding the wider biblical story. Job is covered because the problem of pain or evil in the context of the goodness of God is a common question.

Program Outcomes


CN-1 Ability to describe the basic story of the Bible.

CN-2 Ability to describe the content, genre, major characters, historical context, main events, and theological themes of the Old Testament.

CN-4 Ability to explain the basic principles of biblical interpretation.


CP-2 Ability to prepare biblical messages for effective and sound preaching and teaching.

CP-3 Ability to plan, participate in, and guide others in worship.

CP-13 Ability to interpret and apply Scripture to personal and congregational life.


CH-6 Ability to give value to all persons in all social contexts.


CX-6 Ability to compare between worldviews and values from the Bible, contemporary cultures, and the local context.

Activity Outcomes

Continuing Education

CED-1 Develop the mind of Christ through growing closer to God, studying God’s Word, the needs of the cultural context, and ways to help others grow spiritually.


CON-1 Demonstrate the character qualities of Christ essential in creating an effective counseling relationship built on biblical foundations.

CON-6 Identify and use concepts from the Bible that can apply to counseling situations in the local church.


DIS-4 Use the reading of God’s Word to foster spiritual growth and for personal devotions.

DIS-14 Prepare, organize, and deliver a biblically sound lesson or sermon using culturally sensitive techniques and skills.

Discipline Personal and Family

DPF-1 Develop an activity that prioritizes discipling the whole family. If married, have family devotions and plan for their family to be involved in ministry activities. Develop and demonstrate an effective system for personal spiritual development, holistic personal care and articulate the importance of accountability for these.


PRA-1 Model the prayers of Christ and His relationship to the Father through a strong passion for a life of prayer shown by devoting time to prayer and keeping a prayer journal, including a list of lost people for whom God has made them responsible.


PRE-2 Interpret the Bible within its historical and cultural contexts, recognize different literary genres in the Bible and how to interpret them in appropriate ways, identify the message and key theological concepts for the original audience, and apply the message through a sermon to contemporary audiences in contextually relevant ways.

PRE-11 Identify how holiness was experienced in the Bible and how this applies in the cultural context in which the student will most often find themselves.

PRE-13 Explain how God communicated his word to humanity as recorded in the Bible and the place of preaching in this.

PRE-14 Demonstrate 5 different ways to organize and deliver a sermon for a culturally appropriate length of time and explain how to call people to respond in obedience or change in response to the truth of the sermon.

PRE-15 Explain how to use culturally appropriate stories to illustrate the key points of a sermon.

Small Group

SMG-5 Demonstrate how to develop lessons for a small group that enable them to apply God’s word and grow spiritually.

Content 33%
Competency 36%
Character 17%
Context 14%

Course Texts

Clifford, Richard J. The Wisdom Literature: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series. 1998.

Crenshaw, James L. Old Testament Wisdom, An Introduction.

Lucas, Ernest C. Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Psalms & Wisdom Literature. (Exploring the Bible) Paperback. 2016.

Course Requirements

  1. The local school’s attendance policy should be placed here.
  2. Bible Reading and Prayer Journal: Students should read through the Bible as designated in the Master Plan for Bible Reading in the Course of Study. For this course, students will read Isaiah 49 – Jeremiah 18 and 1 Timothy 1 – Philemon. The focus of the Scripture reading and prayer time for this course is on our accountability before God. As students read and pray, they should consider this question: “What is God asking me to change in my life in order to be more like His image as revealed in Jesus Christ?” Because this question may lead to personal or embarrassing information, students may be more general in the reflections they write in their journal so as not to reveal something to teachers that is meant only for God. Students may also meet with a mentor to discuss their response to the question. Students may also write out a prayer of confession as part of their reflections. Reflections should be at least one paragraph of 200 words.

(Outcomes CED-1, DIS-4, PRA-1)

  1. Teamwork: Students will be grouped into teams of 3 persons and if necessary one additional team of 4 to meet, discuss, and practice interpreting selected passages during class time. These teams will work together throughout the course. Each team will start and end their work with prayer. Each student will be involved and take turns in leading the discussion, giving insights into the passage, and giving reports to the class after the discussion.

(Outcomes CN-1, CN-2, CN-4 PRE-2, PRE-11)

  1. Worship Service Preparation: Each student will prepare a detailed outline of a worship service using passages found in the Psalms. This worship service should be culturally appropriate to the ministry context. It should include reading of passages from the Psalms, appropriate music that fits the theme of the service, prayers, and a sermon title and passage to be preached from.

(Outcomes CP-13)

  1. Sermon Preparation: Each student will prepare a 2 to 3 page sermon based on the teachings found in a passage from Proverbs. The sermon will be graded on how well it calls listeners to make changes in their lives today in response to the teaching found in the passage. Students are encouraged to be creative in the development of this sermon.

(Outcomes CP-2, DIS-14, PRE-13, PRE-14)

  1. Bible Study Preparation: The student will create a 2 to 3 page lesson or Bible study based on Job. The student will name the age group for the lesson, the main points for the lesson, supporting materials (stories, questions, activities, background information), and how the audience is expected to respond.

(Outcomes CP-2, CON-1, CON-6, DIS-14, PRE-15, SM-5)

  1. Preaching/Teaching Application: Students will either preach the sermon from #5 or lead a Bible study from #6 above in a public setting, preferably their local church or another ministry setting. The message or study should speak to a specific audience in contextually relevant ways. At least two people should be present who can provide feedback and fill out an evaluation form.

(Outcomes CP-3, PRE-14)

  1. Team Community Project: The students will work in groups of at least 2 but not more than 8 people to develop and implement a project for their community that is based on some part of what they have learned from these books of the Bible. Projects should be less than 1 months but more than 2 days in length. This can be done before, during or after the class depending on the way the class is presented. Students will present a proposal to the teacher for approval and report on the progress of the project 1 month after it starts. Credit is given for implementation rather than specific results. If possible, the projects will be shared with the class.

(Outcomes CH-6, CX-6, CON-1)

Course Evaluation

Journal                                                 5 %

Teamwork Projects                             10 %

Worship Service Preparation              20 %

Sermon Preparation                           15 %

Bible Study Preparation                      15 %

Preaching/Teaching Application          20 %

Team Community Project                   15 %

Grading Policy

A         90-100%

B         80-89%

C         70-79%

D         60-69%

45-59%           (Passable for the certificate level and toward the requirements for being ordained in the Church of the Nazarene)

If a student marks a final grade lower than 45% he or she must take the course again for credit at the diploma level

Course Outline

  1. Introduction to Hebrew Poetry
  2. Job
  3. Psalms
    1. Types of Psalms
    2. Exegesis of Selected Texts
  4. Proverbs
  5. Ecclesiastes
  6. Song of Solomon
  7. Preaching and Teaching from Old Testament Books
  8. Course Conclusion