JCBT Online Proverbs Course

The Book of Proverbs: Third in the Series…
Online classes: November 2-20, 2020
Instructor: Murray Salisbury

This series is designed to equip consultants and translators, focusing on a given book of the Bible – its text, context and message – during an intensive time period.

Following the huge success of the first two “One book at a time” seminars (Psalms in November 2018 and Micah in November 2019), JCBT is happy to announce a new course focusing on the Book of Proverbs, taught online this year due to travel restrictions.

This intensive course will be led by Murray Salisbury, a translation consultant with thirty years of experience training more than a thousand consultants and translators working in 135 countries.

Translating from any poetic text is not easy! The challenge is at times even greater when it comes to interpreting the very concise, two-line ‘poems’ found in most of Proverbs 10-29. As a collection of mostly individual proverbs, the surrounding verses offer little or no context to search for clues. Several of these verses are either obscure or they are deliberately ambiguous with multiple meanings intended. Indeed, more exegetical variations among the translations can be found for chapters 10-29 than for any other comparable stretch of Scripture.

The goal is to equip participants with tools of exegesis and poetry analysis to help them make informed decisions about the meaning of the more difficult proverbs and wisdom poems in the collection, choosing the most likely interpretation among the multiple alternatives found in translations and commentaries.

Much of what the participants will learn can be taken away and applied to the many other poetic books and sections of the Hebrew Scriptures. However, they will also learn about the specific nature of proverbs. What is a proverb? How does a proverb generate its persuasive power to change behavior?

Participants will study the Hebrew text of selected proverbs and longer wisdom poems in conjunction with discussions about its poetic features and their functions – as well as its cultural, geographical, and historical contexts. Another focus will be the book’s many translation challenges, especially that of producing translations that sound like proverbs in the target language. A good quality translation of this book involves not only clear and accurate content, but also a style that is concise, well-crafted and compelling.

This is an intensive, full-time course for these three weeks. To get around the time-zone differences, the course will combine three daily activities:

  • Watching pre-recorded videos (which can be downloaded and re-used later in training others) – about 1-2 hours each day.
  • Completing the assigned exercises – about 4-5 hours each day.
  • Joining Zoom sessions to discuss the videos and the exercises – about 60-90 minutes each day (Monday-Friday, Israel-time). We will try to hold these sessions at a time that will be suitable for all the time zones represented. Participants will prepare for these sessions by completing the other two daily activities at times that best suit them (in each 24-hour day).

Pre-requisites: Applicants should be involved in Bible translation, ideally as a consultant, consultant-in-training or as a leading mother-tongue translator with tertiary education, translation experience and potential. They should have a working knowledge of Hebrew along with competence in using computer tools and resources to prepare the texts ahead of time so that they can read the texts in class with a reasonable level of understanding.

Note to applicants: This Zoom course will require you to be able to release time in the midst of your ordinary life to concentrate fully during the zoom classes as well as to have time to complete the daily assignments.

Cost: 200 USD per person

Email  before September 30, 2020 if you are interested in applying


  1. I expect to complete the first BLC video course on Hebrew in August. Will that qualify me for this course?

  2. This is Balaji Dhulipala, working with NLCI, Bangalore, India, a Bible Translation Organization. I want to register for this online course on Proverbs.

  3. Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,that saved wretch like me. Mazel tov hallelujah praise the Lord

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