Proverbs 1:2

To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
– Proverbs 1:2

The word for wisdom here means skillful and can refer to the quality of a craftsman that enables him to make or build something. It is distinguished from knowledge, though the two are not totally independent concepts. Instruction refers to discipline or training and so includes positive instruction and negative correction.

The verbs—to know and to perceive—mean to ascertain and to separate mentally. They refer to acquiring and sorting. They give us the thought of discerning, which is a chief component of wisdom. The different verbs and nouns in this first section are an instructive study and also let us know that the kind of wisdom presented is not easily come by.

The Proverbs was written to grow us in that sort of wisdom and discernment. Real life is not like a black-and-white cowboy picture where the good guys all have on white hats and the bad guys all have on black hats. You can readily discern their character by quickly distinguishing their headgear. In real life we encounter various ways of life, philosophies, teachings, and counsels. They are all compelling us to go this way or that. We need true wisdom to distinguish the good from the bad and the true from the false, and that true wisdom doesn’t come easily or quickly.

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