The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom

by Oct 25, 2011Piety, Theology


Craig Bartholomew offers some insightful comments on wisdom in Proverbs:

There are no areas of life that wisdom does not reflect upon: leadership and royalty, wealth and poverty, economics and law, and justice, marriage, and developing sexuality—they are all here, reminding us that all of life is a response to God.

This is not to say that the Wisdom books assume that wisdom provides quick and easy answers to the challenges of life. Job and Ecclesiastes, in particular, witness to the complexity of finding wise ways in our broken lives. However, even in Proverbs wisdom has the nature of a quest. The call of Lady Wisdom has to be responded to, her house has to be entered, and her hospitality has to be taken; the path of wisdom has to be followed; wisdom has to be sought in an ongoing way. Indeed, the fear of Yahweh can be understood as the beginning of wisdom in two ways. On the one hand it is the foundation upon which a wise life is built. On the other hand, the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom in the sense that it is the starting point of a lifelong journey towards wisdom.

“A God for Life, and Not Just for Christmas! The Revelation of God in the Old Testament Wisdom Literature,” pages 39–57 in The Trustworthiness of God: Perspectives on the Nature of Scripture. Edited by Paul Helm and Carl Trueman (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 44.

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