Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Woman's Wisdom, by Lydia Brownback : Part 2

Today I've invited my friend Heather from Do Not Let This Universe Forget You to share her thoughts on A Woman's Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything, by Lydia Brownback.


Lydia Brownback is serious. We live in a foolish world, and the foolishness doesn’t stop at the doors of the church. Christians have a unique source of wisdom at our disposal: Fear and Knowledge of Jesus Christ. In A Woman's Wisdom, Brownback uses the book of Proverbs to speak to not only our proclivity for foolishness, but our primary need of Jesus, who was wise when we couldn’t be.

A Woman's Wisdom is a no-holds-barred, tell-it-like-it-is expose of the sin in our hearts; our words; our friendships; our thoughts; our money; and our sexuality. But it’s much more than a how-to manual because, as Brownback explains in her introduction, “If we approach Proverbs with a quick fix mindset, we are going to miss the overarching point of the book: getting to know and learning to love the Author of wisdom.”[1]

In fact, my only gripe with the book is that it’s marketed very obviously to women. There are a few things that apply pretty exclusively to women in the book, and perhaps Brownback felt more comfortable addressing her own gender. But I honestly think the book holds enough for men too. After all, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight,” (Proverbs 9:10) applies to all of mankind.

And since I’m discussing Proverbs 9:10, I’d like to point out Brownback’s gutsy honesty when she discusses the fact that “fear of the Lord” really does mean what it sounds like: fear. From my limited amount of experience, I have found that Christians and non-Christians alike fear, fear. Christians fear it because they want to charm unbelievers with an all loving God. Non Christians fear it because they see it as bible-thumping and “fire and brimstone” preaching. Brownback explains why the concept of fear is not only important, but an integral part of who God is. “When sinful people come truly close to God,” she says, “they see more of who he truly is – holy, as well as loving. In fact, his holiness is part and parcel of his loving-kindness rather than separate from it.”[2]

Throughout the book Brownback holds up aspects of our lives to the light of God’s word, and who knew there were so many ways to be foolish! Take exaggeration, for example. This was something I’d honestly never thought of before and after citing what is the most terrifying passage of the bible in my humble o. “I tell you on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37), Brownback asks us to consider why we are embellishing the facts, and suggests we choose our words more fittingly and more carefully. But again she brought it all back to Christ whose speech was perfect and who never spoke an idle word. He did all of those things in order that His perfection could be given to us.

Something that I found personally applicable was the section on friendships. I don’t know if I would classify myself as utterly conflict-avoidant, because if an aspect of God's character or a central tenant of doctrine is up for discussion I’ll stand up strongly for the truth. But I don’t always correct my friends if they say something wrong or just foolish. I might make a soft protest, but most of the time I shrug it off. I confess that a great portion of this comes from a desire that my friends like me. But Brownback steered me straight back to the bible, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6), and reminded me that if I’m not looking out for my friend, I’m not loving her. Here again there is hope for me, “Friends will let us down, and we will let them down too…Jesus, however, is the ultimate friend and the only one who will never let us down. And this is a friendship that all wise women embrace.”[3]

There is so much here. I could probably go on forever, but I think it’s best if you read it yourself. She packs a punch and it might make you squirm, but afterwards she shows you the infinite joy and freedom of a life clinging to Jesus, and from that relationship gaining true wisdom.

[1] Lydia Brownback, A Woman's Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2012), page 16

[2] Ibid., page 23

[3] Ibid., 93


I am pleased to announce that Crossway Books offered up one copy per day of this book to be given away to one of you! Today's winner is: Sherry (Beautifully Treasured)


To read the rest of the week's discussion, click on the following links:


Anonymous said...

Nice Heather! Also, can I just say that 1. you've convinced me that I really want to read this book and 2. I LOVE the footnotes. :)

Count me in for the drawing! shostagirl AT gmail DOT com

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Sign me up! :-)

Sherry said...

"In fact, my only gripe with the book is that it’s marketed very obviously to women."

I would suspect that this is because Brownback is acting within the realm of a Titus 2 woman; an older woman teaching the younger. While it is certainly true that ALL Christians need wisdom, most Christian men learn better from other men. Perhaps the other book Carrie has reviewed, "Proverbs:Wisdom that Works," by Ray Ortlund, Jr. might be one of those books.

Good review, Heather! I certainly want to read it, so sign me up for the drawing :)

Shonya said...

Oh, my foolishness way too frequently reveals itself in my words. I truly love the book of Proverbs--it is so relevant regardless of the year or culture.

BerlinerinPoet said...

@Shosta: I thought you might like those footnotes. ;-)

@Sherry: Thanks! And I definitely didn't have a problem with her doing that at all. I just found myself thinking numerous times, wow, too bad guys are gonna miss out on this!

Barbara H. said...

Sounds very edifying.

Anonymous said...

I thought the discussion of this book was timely since I had just completed Proverbs not too long ago. There is much in Proverbs on Foolishness and Fear of the Lord. I loved the book and when I get through the entire I bible I plan to study Proverbs, Isaiah, and many more in depth. Maybe this book would be a great companion to a study?...

Diary of an Autodidact said...

I appreciate your comment about marketing to women. Proverbs (and indeed the rest of the Bible) is for mankind, not some small subset thereof.

I think the problem is a symptom of the general fragmentation of marketing in publishing, which is a problem in all media, not just Christian publishing. Everything must be "targeted", with a clear genre and audience in mind. I suppose this helps sell books, but it also risks missing out on a broader readership.

Annette Whipple said...

Carrie, how is it that your friends can write such a thorough book review as you? (Though I know you have inspired me to go deeper bc I happen to learn so much from you, and now Heather, too!

Once again...I know I want to read this. Thank you!

Emmy D said...

Good post, Heather. I'm looking forward to reading this - preferrably my own copy of it, which I will win this week. ;)

Bluerose said...

Great review, Heather!

I just finished a another book that made me realize just how much foolishness is in my life. I'm sure there's plenty more to discover! :)

bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

Jessica B. said...

i'd really love to win!

Kristin said...

Yes, please! :)
seemommysew @gmailDOTcom

Anonymous said...

living in sin...hmmm..i would love to read this book!

Amy B. said...

This sounds like a great book. thanks for the giveaway

apple blossom said...

this sounds like a great book thanks for the chance to win a copy

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Heather VanTimmeren said...

Thanks for your review. This sounds like a book I need to read.

Janna said...

This sounds wonderful!
jannarebekah (at) aol (dot) com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a very good read. Pleas enter me in contest.

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