- I've read several reviews of Dr. Waltke's 2-volume Proverbs commentary in which reviewers are frustrated with his seemingly over-technical approach and / or moralistic frame. I'd like to offer another opinion to set alongside these reviews and encourage serious Bible students to make use of these texts. My opinion was formed over the course of one year, as I daily referred to these two volumes in the context of a devotional study of the book of Proverbs, using Tim and Kathy Keller's "God's Wisdom for Navigating Life" as my devotional guide. Because I was following the Kellers, I was't reading Proverbs or Waltke straight through. Having read the introductory material years ago (when these volumes were first published), I decided that the commentary proper wasn't meant to be read that way. Instead, the commentary is best read like the Proverbs themselves, as individual pearls on a string. Consulted like that, this resource brought me deeper into devotion than a "surface read" of Proverbs. I was able for the first time ever to really let the text of Proverbs speak for itself, understanding its construction and modes of communication (the royal setting, moral and religious training and the cultivation of the virtue of wisdom over against foolishness, themes and motifs, figures and compositional strategies, etc.). Devotional insights must be gleaned from the author's interaction with the academic legacy of critical sources, bringing to the pages of this commentary a lifetime of work in philology, both of the Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern literature, and arguing for a more faithful, canonical reading than most mid-and-late-twentieth-century critical sources. Furthermore, Dr. Waltke embeds this technical analysis within the worldview of Proverbs, a worldview governed by The Fear of the LORD, and so allows the book of Proverbs to witness its unique approach to wisdom within its cultural and literary setting, wisdom that is impossible apart from faith in and relationship with the covenant LORD. To be clear, I've never considered NICOT or NICNT to be a "pastoral" commentary series, so I wasn't expecting much at the level of Christ-centered application. Indeed, one cannot get a Christocentric reading of Proverbs without the New Testament! We read backwards, as many have observed from John 5:46 and Luke 24:13-35. Only when we see Jesus, the (true) wisdom from God (1 Cor. 1:30), will we be able to fill out the moralism sketched in the outlines of Proverbs to reveal the full spectrum of the gospel and substance of Christ shadowed there. The Kellers point this out in their devotional, which was the companion I needed to truly make my study of Proverbs a devotional read rather than an academic one. Waltke's business here is with the text as such, not with going beyond it. Finally, as I daily consulted "The Book of Proverbs," either volume, I found many places where the author did bring nuggets of personal exhortation and discipleship insights. For example, in Vol. 2, on Prov. 16:3 (Commit your work to the LORD / and your plans will be established) Waltke gently prods the reader: <i>The faithful must not fret or worry about [the] effectiveness (of their planned deeds), or even their purity, for that assessment and their achievement depends upon God, not on the doer (Ps. 22:9; 37:5; 55:23; 1 Pet. 5:7). Secular man, who feels so self-confident, paradoxically is plagued with fear. Pious people, who know God’s sovereignty and their limitations, live in prayer and peace.</i> I found nuggets like this throughout the text, emerging from thorough exegesis and interaction. Much like taking a class with Dr. Waltke, one is overwhelmed with his erudition and experience, but his love for Jesus surpasses his scholarship and comes through at points not expected. I'd say that was my experience with this commentary as well.