The beginning of wisdom
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)
The phrase “the fear of the Lord” appears 11 times in the book of Proverbs. It refers to fear that stems from coming to the realization of God’s character which in turn leads to a reverent attitude towards Him. This reverent attitude results in a desire to serve and worship God, and obey his commands.
Notice the stark contrast between those who fear the Lord and gain knowledge to the fools who despise wisdom and understanding. It’s implied in this verse that the kind of knowledge being spoken of is the kind that leads to wisdom and instruction. Both of which fools reject out-of-hand.
The Hebrew word that’s translated “beginning” in Proverbs 1:7 means “the start”. This means that you don’t have a chance of gaining spiritual knowledge unless you start with a reverent fear of the Lord. Otherwise your endeavor is doomed to fail. In the following verse, a different Hebrew word is translated “beginning” which means “a prerequisite of”.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)
Solomon is saying that not only does your search for spiritual wisdom have to start with the fear of the Lord but that it’s a prerequisite. In other words, don’t even bother starting your search for spiritual truth until you have the fear of the Lord in your heart.
Do you have the fear of the Lord in your heart?
If you do, He’ll impart His wisdom to you through the work of the Holy Spirit. If you don’t, then the only wisdom that you’ll ever achieve is the wisdom of men, which is foolishness compared to God’s wisdom.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
I’ve been a Christian for more than 40 years. In 2013, I began growing in a closer relationship with God as I turned over more and more of my life to Him and asked Him for wisdom. Since then, I’ve been strongly compelled to share God's word and to warn others that we need to get ready because Jesus is coming soon.
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