IVP’s How To Read Proverbs book review – Rating 9.8

IVP's How To Read Proverbs Cover by Tremper Longman IIIIVP Academic generously sent me a copy of their “How to Read Proverbs” by Tremper Longman III for me to do a review of this really good book.   I cannot count how many times I have heard people either use quotes from Proverbs out of context and/or incorrectly.  This book is written very well and I would highly recommend it to any Christian so they can get a better (and in many cases, a proper) understanding of the book of Proverbs and how it applies to our lives.
I would give this book a 9.8 out of my normal 10 point rating scale.  On a “5 star” scale that some websites use, I would give it a solid 5-star rating.

In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by InterVarsity Press to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Many times I have listened to Christians quote verses out of the book of Proverbs in ways that don’t really keep it in context or in some cases, use the name-it-and-claim-it approach expecting things to happen in a certain manner. Tremper Longman III did a very nice job of presenting the book of Proverbs in a way that helps readers of Proverbs to get a solid understanding of how to correctly interpret and apply the book of Proverbs to their lives.

I conducted a class at our church on how to study the Bible on your own using the Inductive Bible Study Method and this book really follows that concept nicely. In fact, I would recommend this book very highly for anyone that is interested in being able to correctly interpret and apply the book of Proverbs to their lives.

I really liked how the author brought other books of the Bible into play to present similar themes and ideas in relation to the book of Proverbs. I appreciated the sections in each chapter for Further Reflection and also For Further Reading. I think many will find these aspects very helpful as additional resources and learning.

This book does a good job to help people understand how important the culture and audience (just for two examples) play a critical role in knowing how to properly interpret Scripture. I felt that this book was easy to follow and hard to put down.

I have come across some reviews where people have commented that this book is too basic, while others have commented that this is geared more toward Bible students and was difficult for them to understand. I’m not quite seeing either side of these comments and tend to not fall into either of these extremes as I feel that this book is written very well and does help readers gain a more solid understanding of the book of Proverbs.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review from IVP and all opinions are my own.


Type of Book:  Biblical Studies / Wisdom Literature
Editors: Tremper Longman III
Publisher: IVP (InterVarsity Press) #IVPress @ivpress
Publication Date: October 12, 2002
ISBN-13 of Book Reviewed: 978-0877849421
Price:  At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this book is at Christianbook.com.  They have it for $10.49– suggested retail from the publisher is $18.00. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.

If you would like to purchase this book, please support my page and purchase by clicking any of the links to Christianbook.com on this page like the one below.

49421: How to Read Proverbs How to Read Proverbs
By Tremper Longman III / InterVarsity PressLike jewels of truth set in crowns of poetry, the proverbs sparkle with the light of ancient experience—and reflect the ageless counsels of God. While individual verses speak powerfully, How to Read Proverbs unveils even greater insight by placing the whole book within the context of biblical and non-Israelite wisdom literature. Tremper Longman’s handbook will help you study, appreciate, and savor this treasure-trove of divine guidance.


Physical Characteristics:
•174 pages
•Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches

The Goal of This Book:

This book is designed to help readers be able to properly interpret and apply the book of Proverbs to their lives more correctly and effectively. I really feel that the author did a great job in doing just that.

My Favorite Part:

I really like how the author really pulls the reader into the book and helps you to understand what the book of Proverbs is all about and how it applies to your life. The way that he walks through presenting the material really built nicely upon each point that he is making giving an excellent picture of how to interpret Proverbs.


Having a basic understanding of some of the concepts of the Inductive Bible Study Method probably would be helpful for some readers of this book, which could possibly be why some people have commented on this being a more challenging book to read. However, with that said, I really feel that if you spend your time reading through this, and yes, maybe chewing on a few portions of this book a little extra time, you will get so much out of this. Yes, I would highly recommend this book.


Part One: Understanding Proverbs
Chapter 1: Why Read Proverbs?
Chapter 2: Walking on the Path of Life
Chapter 3: Woman Wisdom or Folly – Which Will It Be?
Chapter 4: What Exactly Is a Proverb – And How Does It Work?
Chapter 5: Are Proverbs Always True?
Part Two: Reading Proverbs in Context
Chapter 6: Did Solomon Know Amenomope and Ahiqar? Biblical Proverbs and International Wisdom
Chapter 7: Proverbs in Conversation with Job and Ecclesiastes
Chapter 8: Proverbial Wisdom in Action: Joseph and Daniel
Chapter 9:  Where Is God in Proverbs? Christ, the Treasure of God’s Wisdom
Part Three: Following the Themes in Proverbs
Chapter 10: How to Study Themes in Proverbs – Money Matters
Chapter 11: On Loving the Right Woman
Chapter 12: Wise Words, Foolish Words
Conclusion: Principles for Reading the Book of Proverbs
Final Word
Appendix 1: Authorship and Date of the Book of Proverbs
Appendix 2: Commentaries on the Book of Proverbs

About the Publisher:

From the publisher’s website:  As an extension of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, InterVarsity Press serves those in the university, the church and the world by publishing resources that equip and encourage people to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord in all of Life.  InterVarsity Press is based in Westmont, IL.
@ivpress @ivpacademic


Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.

– Michael


This entry was posted in Bible Reading, Bible Studies, Bible Study, Bible Study Resources, Bible Studying, Commentary, Context, Culture, Customs, Doctrine, Hebrew, Historical Background, Inductive Bible Studies, IVP, Jewish, Key Words, Manners, Old Testament Studies, Other Book Reviews >>, Paperback, Scriptures, Spiritual Growth Book Reviews, Spiritual Life, Studying, Teaching, Theology, Tremper Longman III, wisdom, Word of God, Word Studies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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