Proverbs 1 – A Passion for Wisdom

Proverbs 1In keeping with our goal of studying a chapter a day in Proverbs, we return to Proverbs 1 this 1st day of February. My focus will continue to be two or three verses from the chapter that corresponds to the day of the month.  As with any new task, there has been an evolving of style; however, my purpose is unchanged:

To aspire to wisdom by reading and meditating upon the absolute truths of God’s Word, confident that “the fear [reverential worship] of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Proverbs 1:1-6 is the preamble, the introduction to the Book of Proverbs. Solomon is introduced as the “the son of David, King of Israel” and author of the proverbs. Proverbs 1:2-4 states Solomon’s purpose for having his proverbs penned.

Proverbs 1:2-4 – “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”

Solomon expresses a five-fold goal for conveying his proverbs in writing:

1) “To know wisdom…” (1:2) – Wisdom carries a greater meaning than mere lighthouseknowledge. A man can be intellectually brilliant, but lack wisdom. Wisdom implies the “skillful [right] use of knowledge”.  

2) “To know … instruction (1:2) –  Biblical instruction implies both “reproof” and “chastisement” (discipline).  The word translated “instruction” in Proverbs 1:2 is translated “chasten” in Proverbs 13:24  – He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. By application, the primary purpose for a parent to chasten a child is instructive, not punitive.  

3) “…to perceive [discern] the words of understanding(1:2) – An appropriate application of this goal is that of imparting what we might call “common sense”  (a sense that is not so common in our day).

4) “To receive [accept] the instruction of wisdom [disciplined instruction], justice [discerning between right and wrong], and judgment, and equity [integrity, justice… determining what is right and fair] (1:3) To acquire wisdom, one must have a right attitude toward discipline and instruction (1:3). Sociologist and pragmatist might question whom or what determines right or wrong; however, God the creator has weighed in on that debate with His Law and Commandments [“for by the law is the knowledge of sin” Romans 3:20].  Finally, the fifth goal cited by Solomon for imparting his proverbs is given in verse 4.

5) “To give subtilty [discernment] to the simple [silly; foolish], to the young man knowledge and discretion.” (1:4)

father instructing childrenRemember, the primary object of Solomon’s proverbs was his son who would be king.  An oriental king was the supreme judge in judicial matters and there was no court of appeal after a king had passed judgment.  It was critical that Solomon’s son have an ability to discern between good and evil; to know what to say and what not to say; to know when to be silent and when to speak.

You and I are blessed to have the Proverbs of Solomon and I am excited to have the opportunity of taking this journey with you this year.