1. The author of Proverbs is King Solomon, son of David, v. 1. The story of Solomon asking for wisdom is found in, 2 Chronicles 2:7-12.
2. The purpose of the book of Proverbs is (vs. 2-6):
(i) Gaining wisdom and instruction, v. 2;
(ii) understanding words of insight, v 2;
(iii) receiving instruction on prudent (wise) behavior, v. 3;
(iv) doing what is right, just, and fair, v. 3;
(v) giving prudence (wisdom) to the simple, v. 4;
(vi) knowledge and discretion (purpose) to the young, v. 4;
(vii) add learning to the wise, v. 5;
(viii) guidance to the discerning (understanding), v. 5;
(ix) understanding proverbs and parables, v. 6;
(x) and for understanding sayings and riddles of the wise, v. 6.
The Message, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction, v. 7.”
1. Fear of the Lord: To fear God in the sense of judgment and obey His commands.
2. Beginning of Knowledge: When we understand our proper roles with God, we can begin to learn from Him and be rooted in His knowledge.
Conceptualist Argument for God’s Existence by Alvin Plantinga:
- Abstract objects, such as numbers and propositions (truths), are either independently existing realities or else concepts in some mind.
- Abstract objects are not independently existing realities.
- If abstract objects are concepts in some mind, then an omniscient (all-knowing) metaphysically necessary being exists.
- Therefore, an omniscient, metaphysically necessary being exists.
3. Fools Despise…: Those who don’t either acknowledge God (Psalm 14:1) or live according to His commands (Prov. 10:23) are fools.
4. Wisdom: The proper application of knowledge.
5. Instruction: To be taught knowledge, wisdom, and discipline.
Further Explanation of the “Fear of the Lord”:
1. Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary: The fear of the Lord means to revere God, an idea most directly expressed in the Wisdom Literature (e. g., Prov. 2: 5). Fear of God is connected to keeping the law and commandments (Eccl. 12:13) and is the whole of wisdom and the root of wisdom. Most succinctly stated, “Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding,” Job 28: 28.
To fear God, then, is to be completely devoted to his will and its rewards while knowing the awesome consequences of not fearing him. This is the background to Paul’s injunction to the Philippians to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, Phil. 2:12.
2. Disciples That Make Disciples: The Bible teaches in Proverbs 14:27, “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.” The “fear of the Lord” means to “have terror and dread of facing God in judgment”. You might have been told that the “fear of the Lord” just meant, “respect for God as a Father” or ”to be mindful of His great power.” Though both of those definitions have some truth, the writer of Proverbs is not just saying, “think about God as a disciplinarian”, he is saying, “you better have terror and fear about facing God on Judgment Day if you’re not living right, because hell is real!”
- Proverbs 8:13, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
- Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
- Proverbs 10:27, “The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.”
- Proverbs 14:26, “He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.”
- Proverbs 15:16, “Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.”
- Proverbs 19:23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”
- Proverbs 23:17, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.”
3. Holman’s Bible Dictionary: The proper attitude of believers toward God is often said to be respect, reverence, or awe rather than fear. The biblical terminology, however, is the same, and Gods character remains unchanged. The description of God often translated awesome is literally feared or fearful (Exod. 15:11; Neh. 1:5; Job 37:22; Ps. 89:7; Dan. 9:4).
Confining the believers attitude toward God to reverence or awe rather than fear may lose sight of those aspects of the divine character that compel obedience–His perfect holiness and righteousness and His unlimited knowledge and power. Knowing that God’s wrath has been satisfied in Christ relieves the believer from the fear of condemnation but not from accountability to a holy God (2 Cor. 5: 10-11; 7:1; 1 Tim. 5:20; 1 Pet. 1:17).
Fear and love are both terms found in ancient Near Eastern literature associated with covenant loyalty. To fear God is to have allegiance to Him and consequently to His instructions, thus affecting ones values, convictions, and behavior (Gen. 20:11; Lev. 25:17, 36, 43; 1 Sam. 12:14, 24; Ps. 128:1; Prov. 8:13). True believers are often referred to as those who fear God (Gen. 22:12; Job 1:9; Pss. 31:19; 33:18; 103:11, 13, 17; 115:11, 13; 118:4; Mal. 3:16; 4 2; Luke 1:50). So the fear of God expressed in humble submission and worship is essential to true wisdom (Prov. 9:10; 15:33; Isa. 33:6). A true believer may be defined as one who trembles at God’s word (Gen. 22:12; Exod. 1:17; Ps. 119:161; Isa. 66:2, 5; Jer. 23:9).
Practical Understanding of the Fear of the Lord:
- God as Father: We should always be mindful that our Heavenly Father wants what is best for us and thus His discipline is for our good, James 1:17 & Hebrews 12:5-11.
- God as Lord/Boss: God commands us to be like Him and to obey all His commands because He is in charge of our lives and all creation, Matthew 6:24 & Romans 6:16-17.
- God as King: God will destroy and conquer all His enemies, therefore, we should always obey Him, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 & Hebrews 10:26-31.
E. Ray Clendenen,
Knowing that God’s wrath has been satisfied in Christ relieves the believer from the fear of condemnation but not from accountability to a holy God.