(Book review) Short Sentences Long Remembered: A Guided Study of Proverbs and Other Wisdom Literature

Reviewed by: Hope Bolinger, a professional writing major at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana



Title: Short Sentences Long Remembered: A Guided Study of Proverbs and Other Wisdom Literature

Author: Leland Ryken

Publisher: Weaver Book Company

Publication Date: 2016

Format: Print book

Length: 114 pages


Proverbs and other books of wisdom literature, such as Ecclesiastes, teem with literary merit. Both prose and poetry passages of this biblical genre overflow with riddles, memory tricks, vivid analogies, and other “technical precision(s)” (7). Ryken dissects several proverbs, narrowing line length and enlightening readers on the typical proverb formula (including elements of motivation for obedience and warnings, 52). One of six volumes in the series of approaching Scripture with a literary outlook, Ryken helps readers apply concepts at the end of chapters with “learning by doing” exercises.

Ryken examines the wisdom literature with the precision and skill of a well-trained scientist. Literarily, that is. However, his book runs into problems in execution and marketing. The former erred because the work reads too heavily on the side of a research paper, more to be appreciated by those high in the ranks of academia. Perhaps that could have worked to his advantage if he had not marketed it to the common reader, as mentioned on the back cover.  Still, there are interesting insights in regard to examining scripture for those folks who have read their Bibles many times and are looking for fresh ways to study the various passages.


Rating (1 to 5)

3 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians wanting to read the Bible through a literary lens.

Christian Impact

Biblical authors implement several literary devices – from John’s word play with “the Word” (logos) in John 1 to the imagery of the sun in Ecclesiastes 1:5. If a reader can spy these technical treasures, this will enhance his or her appreciation of Scripture altogether. 

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About Cecelia Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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