Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
– Proverbs 1:7

Beginning here means a first principle or foundational principle. The beginning of all knowledge and wisdom is a right fear of God (Proverbs 9:10; 15:33; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28). It speaks to us of a submission to God rather than simply finding a right way or method of understanding. Through right relation to God we understand that wisdom and knowledge are revealed to us by God and not something acquired through proper human formula.

Understanding the right relation to God illuminates the meaning of fools despising wisdom and instruction. Fools want wisdom, but they want it separate from God (Psalm 14:1). So their despising is a despising of true wisdom. The fool’s pursuit ends in less knowledge and wisdom (Romans 1:18-32).

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