"Solomon Says" by Mark Horne. A Review

Probably one of the best pieces of advice my wife and I received as young parents is that we weren't raising children, we were raising adults! That changed our outlook and gave us a renewed direction amidst all of the normal and abnormal frustrations in our 34 years of parenting. Mark Horne, a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, executive director of Logo Sapiens Communications, and author, has mapped out a similar trail in his new 166-page softback "Solomon Says: Directions for Young Men". But the subtitle is a bit of a misnomer. The directions apply to young women as well. But are useful to adults just as much as to youth, because Horne is giving "a reader's guide to Proverbs that lays out some important themes in Proverbs" with the goal of inspiring readers at whatever age to read and memorize "Proverbs as you seek and find wisdom for your life" (xv). This is an easy-to-read manuscript that can be grasped by teenagers and septuagenarians alike.

After the important preface and introduction, the book opens out into nine lessons that will be familiar to anyone who has ever read the biblical book of Proverbs. Sloth, speech, spending, and self-government are major subjects from one end to the other. Rightly does Horne note, "If you do not govern yourself, you will be governed by others, and your impulses will be the reins they use to lead you" (5). Therefore, "what we do is who we become" (43). And so, gaining wisdom "is for our empowerment and enjoyment in life, not to oppress us" (12). I appreciated his emphasis that growing in wise ways now has long term reverberations. "Growing into a wise man is the best way to prepare to become a wise spouse" (65). And this applies to becoming a wise woman as well.

The opposite of biblical wisdom is folly. And fools "become slaves to others because they allow themselves to become slaves to emotions, behaviors, and false stories that justify them" (4). Horne, following the sapential writer, points out how folly's destructive traits even show up in speech, when "people assume all their words are important and must be expressed. That need to express whatever you think is a kind of selfishness, and it is often a form of self-destructive behavior" (5-6). The author will later take this to a new level when he describes the way sensible gun-safety should guide us in sensible tongue-safety, and the destructive results if we don't practice either (92). In the end, a life of folly is a life of fettering ourselves to the whims and winds of our own passions, driven by the manipulative approaches of others.

Horne nicely exposes the canonical connection of Proverbs to much of Scripture. As the author notes, it is "easy to read Proverbs as a meditation on Genesis" (19). I would go further, and point out that this sagacious material is also a reflection of the Son of God, who always did his Father's will and what pleased his Father (John 8:28-29, 49). Not only is Proverbs about the first Adam, but also the final Adam. And our being joined to Christ, we find he has "become to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30). There is a Gospel hum playing in the background of Proverbs.

"Solomon Says" has to do with wine, women, wealth, work and words. The author stays close to the major subjects found in Proverbs, how they build on each other, and build into each other. Further, Horne correctly sees that Proverbs is clearly about the ways liberated people can stay liberated. This volume is ideal for parents to read with their young teens. It would also make a good resource for an adult class, as well as a men's or women's retreat. And it is definitely for personal growth and devotional reading. I highly recommend the book

My thanks to Athanasius Press. I asked for a review copy, and they happily sent me the one used for this assessment. They made no demands of me, and so this analysis of the book is given without any restraints, other than that which I have imposed on myself.

Pick up a copy here: Solomon Says


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