The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:2To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,3to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;4to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—5Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,6to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1: 1-7
The purpose of the book of Proverbs is stated right from the start: ‘These are the wise sayings… Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right… A manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair’ (vv.1–3, MSG). It provides practical wisdom for everyone – both the ‘inexperienced’ and the ‘experienced’ (vv.4–6, MSG).
These Proverbs tell you how life usually works. They provide pragmatic and wise advice learnt from a lifetime of experience.They help you attain ‘wisdom and discipline’ (vv.2,7) – two vital aspects of life, which do not happen overnight.
The purpose of the book is to enable you ‘to steer your course rightly’ (v.5, AMP). Wisdom is the ‘art of steering’ through the battles and blessings of life, and living skilfully in whatever conditions you find yourself. ‘Wisdom,’ as Bible teacher Joyce Meyer says, ‘is choosing to do now what you will be happy with later on’.
Wisdom starts with the ‘fear of the Lord’, which ‘is the beginning of knowledge’ (v.7a). The ‘fear’ of the Lord can be translated ‘reverence’. It means to respect and honour the Lord as God. The most important lesson you can learn about life is to ‘start with God’ (v.7a, MSG).
Lord, help me to learn the art of steering through the battles and blessings that lie ahead.