Why am I on this journey to live wisely? More importantly, why look at the wisdom literature of Proverbs when there are others who could also inform me?
What we would consider to be wise in our own eyes does not have the benefit of perspective. It could be true, or it could be a false understanding of things. When we choose our own version of truth, the litmus test is our own knowledge and experiences. This relative truth lacks perspective. Therefore, wisdom and knowledge must come from an external source which has stood the test of time. The Book of Proverbs in the Bible was written between 1,000-700 B.C., which makes the book nearly 3,000 years old. Also, the Book of Proverbs is widely regarded as wisdom literature. This a universally held position by Christians and non-Christians, those who possess a biblical worldview and those who do not.
Also, the first passage of the first chapter of Proverbs answer the question of why one should study the Book of Proverbs: Solomon wrote Proverbs so that the reader would know wisdom and instruction. Wisdom involves more than possessing knowledge. It incorporates observation, instruction, obedience, diligent planning and a certain sensitivity to the will of God. After all, as Prov 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;” The fear does not necessarily mean to be afraid of God (though we should be afraid of the most powerful being in all the world if we make ourselves his enemy), rather it means we should be respectful or “reverent obedience.”
Solomon continues with his reasons for the reader to study the Book of Proverbs:
“to know wisdom and instruction, to discern sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.”
Wisdom requires action. To possess understanding and instruction means one must behave wisely. Wise living leads to righteousness, treating people with justice and equity. To seek wisdom and knowledge is a defining characteristic of wisdom. After all, a wise man will hear and increase in learning (or knowledge).
Are you wise? Do you desire to live wisely? Join me on this journey toward wise living by walking systematically through the Book of Proverbs.