June 15: Wisdom From Above (Proverbs 1:1-7)
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. (ESV)
For our summer series, we are turning to a well loved but often little understood book of the Bible, the book of Proverbs. Proverbs are short pithy sayings; they pack a lot of meaning into a few words. We use contemporary proverbs regularly: “haste makes waste” or “a penny saved is a penny earned.” But the proverbs of the Bible are more than just quaint sayings your grandmother may have used. The proverbs of Solomon contain a divine wisdom that bridges our understanding of God and our practice toward God. One of the most often repeated criticisms of the Christian faith is the difference in the way Christians speak of God and the way they live before God. This book seeks to correct that problem by helping God’s people learn to live before God skillfully and wisely. It is much more than practical wisdom because the proverbs are all built upon the fear of the Lord (1:7). Solomon says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words, knowledge can only be gained and understood with a proper view of the greatness and glory of God as displayed in his Word and in his Son.
Review and Apply
- Is there a difference between knowledge and wisdom?
- What do these proverbs hope to teach the simple/young in 1:4? Why is this needed?
- What is implied in calling the wise to hear and increase in learning (1:5)? What is your current practice?
- How would you describe the fear of the Lord?
- Do you fear the Lord? Why or why not?
- How does this foundation of fear lead us away from simple practical knowledge to spiritual insight into these proverbs?
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