This book seeks to press the wisdom of Proverbs into active duty in the trenches of everyday life and put the principles of character formation in working clothes. The wisdom Proverbs describes is not designed to master life's challenges but to learn to manage them and adapt. In learning to adapt, individuals grow and mature spiritually. Relying on solid biblical scholarship, this book brings to the fore the neglected sentence literature in Proverbs 10-29 and the vital resources they contribute to the process of character formation. Contrary to popular opinion, the book of Proverbs, even though addressed to youth, is not a book solely for the young, but for those of all ages who desire to continue to grow personally and in their relationship with others and God. The wise in the book of Proverbs employ a plethora of resources to help train up young and old alike to grow into the character of God. Among others, these resources include the value of interacting with others, a healthy understanding of conflict, an appropriate perspective on wealth, a new appreciation for and reliance on the role of the neglected proverb in the education process, and the vital role of family and the faith community. Ultimately the whole process of character formation is founded upon one's relationship with God and the fear of the Lord. ""Dave Bland has written a compelling study of the book of Proverbs to which attention will be paid. His discussion is closely text-based and the reader will learn a great deal both about the Bible and about current scholarship on the Bible. Bland engages critically with contemporary analyses of narcissistic autonomy in our society, and advocates 'character formation' as a definitive antidote to the collapse of the responsible self. He has written a book that is pedagogically alert, that invites us into the thickness and dynamism of the Proverbs as a guide for our work of nurture. His book pivots on the important interface between the biblical offer and the crucial human issues that we face in our society."" --Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary ""The proverb has hit hard times. Compared to story, many think that the proverb is trite, boring, and unhelpful in terms of forming our moral and spiritual life. In Proverbs and the Formation of Character, Dave Bland presents the power of the proverb to change our thinking and our actions in such a way as to form healthy and virtuous habits that transform our character to one that pleases God. I strongly recommend this book to all who want their lives to reflect their love for God."" --Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College Dave L. Bland is Professor of Homiletics at Harding School of Theology in Memphis.
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