Dr. Tiberius Rata, Grace Seminary associate dean and Old Testament studies professor, and Dr. Kevin Roberts, provost and behavioral science professor, recently coauthored an interdisciplinary commentary on Proverbs called Sacred Wisdom. The book, published by Brethren Mission Herald Co., was released this summer and can be purchased on Amazon.
This is Dr. Rata and Dr. Roberts’ second collaborative writing project. The two previously coauthored Fear God and Keep His Commandments, a commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. Joining them as co-author this time is Grace alumnus Dr. Knute Larson, a pastor of 43 years. Each contributor focused on a different aspect of the commentary — Rata provided biblical insights, Roberts brought a psychological perspective, and Larson offered pastoral wisdom.
“For me, the joy is digging deep into the text of Scripture,” said Dr. Rata. “Everything in Proverbs pertains to my daily walk — from having the fear of the LORD, to how I treat my wife, my kid,s and those around me. Proverbs helps me be more generous with the resources God has given me and helps me not be content with what I already know. Being a lifelong learner is part of being wise.”
According to Dr. Rata, biblical exegesis requires close, deliberate reading and thorough research on the book’s context. To accomplish this, Dr. Rata consulted a variety of historical voices.
“I start by looking into the text and especially the Hebrew words and phrases used to convey the message of the book,” said Dr. Rata. “Then I look and see how other biblical authors treated those topics. Eventually, I look for illustrations from church history and see how the saints who went before us applied the wisdom from Proverbs to their daily lives.”
Dr. Roberts has also found the book of Proverbs to be transformative. “In reviewing the psychological research related to each topic covered in this book, I appreciated how the research so often lined up with the teachings in Proverbs,” he said. “On a personal level, my faith was challenged while writing each chapter, but the study of humility brought me to a deeper realization of the necessity of humility in our walk with God.”
Dr. Roberts hopes that readers of the commentary are as edified as the authors were in writing it. “The beauty of the book of Proverbs is that it is full of practical teaching, relating to all people,” he said. “We hope that our readership gains a deeper understanding of wisdom and right living from the three perspectives provided.”
Sacred Wisdom: An Interdisciplinary Commentary on the Book of Proverbs is intended for informed lay-level readers, as well as pastors, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, students, and anyone who wants to understand the storyline of the Bible better. The book can be ordered on Amazon here.
A version of this story originally appeared in a press release from Grace College. Find out more about Grace on their website here.