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The Beginning and End of Wisdom: Preaching Christ from the First and Last Chapters of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job (O'Donnell)

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The Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament can be daunting to interpret and to preach. But Douglas O’Donnell has successfully linked the messages of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job to Jesus in the New Testament. He shares six Christocentric sermons that reveal the often-overlooked shadow of the cross within this biblical genre, while addressing age-old questions of significance and suffering, the meaning of life and work, and humanity’s chief relationship between husband and wife.

Through careful examination of poetic forms, linguistic correlations, and most importantly a profound understanding of the gospel, The Beginning and End of Wisdomwill help you connect Wisdom Literature to the wisdom of God found ultimately in the person of Christ.

Table of Contents:

  1. Ship of Fools (Proverbs 1:1-7)
  2. Imperishable Beauty (Probers 31:10-31)
  3. Why Work? (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11)
  4. The Devil’s Question (Job 1:1-12)
  5. My Servant (Job 42:1-17)
  6. How Shall Wisdom Be Preached?

Appendix A: Preaching Hebrew Poetry

Appendix B: Book Summaries and Suggested Sermon Series 



Douglas Sean O'Donnell (MAs, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wheaton College) is a senior lecturer in biblical studies and practical theology at Queensland Theological College in Brisbane, Australia, after spending nearly twenty years in pastoral ministry. He is currently obtaining his doctorate at Trinity College Bristol through the University of Aberdeen.



“Douglas O’Donnell writes with infectious enthusiasm about the Wisdom Literature of the Bible. At a time when many Christians wonder how these books ‘fit in’ to the rest of Scripture, O’Donnell’s call to pay close attention to these books and his gripping introduction to them should be widely read.” - Peter J. Williams, Warden, Tyndale House, Cambridge, England

“Rarely does an individual combine the precision of an exegete, the passion of a poet, and the pulse of a pastor. But Doug O’Donnell demonstrates all of these qualities in his most recent book. What is even more impressive is that O’Donnell focuses his attention on the Old Testament Wisdom Literature, one of the sections of the Bible most neglected by scholars and pastors alike. His model sermons and the hermeneutical discussions that undergird them are sure to inspire many others to follow the path that he has blazed so well.” - Daniel J. Estes, Distinguished Professor of Bible, Dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, Cedarville University

“Doug O’Donnell’s sermons in this volume are all that a preaching commentary should be—analytic of the biblical text, wide-ranging in biblical scholarship, containing a wealth of ‘bridge building’ to everyday life, and stylistically excellent.” - Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English, Wheaton College