Summary: The book of Proverbs begins with the purpose of a Proverbs and the definition of true wisdom.
An Introduction to Wisdom
Illus. A Baptist pastor was praying with his staff and deacons one Sunday morning before services when a cloud filled the room.
A deep voice spoke out to the pastor. "Which every you wish, it will be given to you: wisdom, wealth or great looks."
The pastor, without hesitating, said aloud, "Wisdom, Lord. Give me wisdom."
The voice then said, "Granted". The smoke cleared and the presence was gone. Everyone sat there quietly and amazed for a moment.
The chairman of the deacon then asked, "Now that you have wisdom, what is the first thing that comes to your mind."
The pastor simply said, "Now I know I should have taken the money."
Pro 1:1-7 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, 3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; 4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth-- 5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, 6 to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
In this passage, we get the purpose for this great book. It supplies a great introduction to our series. The purpose: to help the reader to know wisdom and instruction, to help the reader understand words of insight, to prepare the one to receive instructions in wise dealings, in righteousness, justice and equity, to give prudence to the simple, and knowledge and discretion to the youth, to help you understand how to use a proverb and benefit from it.
The first six verses, particularly 2-6, lists the purposes of Proverbs. Verse seven then lays the foundation for knowledge and wisdom.
I want us to launch our study with some simple points that draw from several passages to help us begin this study and search for more wisdom as God has planned.
I. What is wisdom?
What is the difference from wisdom, common sense and knowledge? Excellent question. I am so glad you asked.
First, let me give you the secular definition of wisdom, not because it is right, but because it is commonly accepted. From there, we can move to what is godly wisdom.
The dictionary says, Wisdom is basically knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action. Simply put, the dictionary defines wisdom as not only knowing stuff, but how to use that knowledge in a right way. In other words, wisdom, as defined in Webster, has an intellectual aspect and a moral aspect. It is to know and know how to use it rightly.
The problem with this definition is the question, Who decides how we are to use this knowledge the right way? And many answers abound. There are some proverbs that address this from our culture.
1. You've probably heard, "Always look out for number one." This philosophy stems from the concept that everyone else is looking out for themselves, and that leaves no one to look out for you. This is what I would considered the godless approach. In a secular, godless world, this would be a mighty fine philosophy for survival. However, it fails in the light of God's instructions.