The first 9 verses set the tone, and are widely regarded as the introduction of the entire purpose of the Book of Proverbs. Coffman wrote “Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge aright,” and that the Christian has an advantage in that respect as 1 Corinthians 1:30 tells us that “because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Verse 7 is the key: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Coffman’s comment on this is dead on:
“This is not a reference to abject craven fear, or terror, but to the awesome respect, honor, and deference to God and his will which automatically come to every mind that contemplates the omnipotence, glory, and holiness of Almighty God. This expression is found fourteen times in Proverbs.” This latter fact is not inconsequential. Every one of these fourteen passages containing those words conveys the richness of life and wisdom that comes to those that have this proper reverence and awe, and know the Almighty and the importance He places on things such as good, evil, and discipline (for reference, the others are Proverbs 1:29, 2:5, 8:13, 9:10, 10:27, 14:26, 14:27, 15:16, 15:33, 16:6, 19:23, 22:4, and 23:17). The word “instruction” in verse 7 appears 26 times in the book, and the Hebrew incorporates “discipline” into its meaning. This is central to understanding the “instruction” in verse seven and referenced elsewhere.
Verses 18 and 31 drive home the point, making clear that one’s actions contrary to good and righteousness mete out their own punishment to them. The application of this instruction and wisdom to the young, as emphasized in verses 4 and 8-9, are underscored in Ephesians 6:1-4 as well.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.