The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, NKJV)
The proverbs of Solomon generate knowledge grounded in wisdom, instruction, perception and understanding (Prov. 1:1-2). They provide wisdom’s instruction concerning justice, judgment and equity (Prov. 1:3). They give discretion and enlightenment to the innocent and inexperienced (Prov. 1:4). Furthermore, wise ones will gain learning and acquire good counsel through pondering these proverbs (Prov. 1:5-6). Yet, without the “fear of the Lord,” no such knowledge, wisdom, instruction and counsel will be attained. The fear of the Lord, then, is the starting line, the “beginning” place from which one proceeds to benefit from the proverbs. The “fools” of verse 7 are set in contrast to those who “fear the Lord.” They do not dread displeasing God. They do not stand in awe of Him. They do not revere His name. Thus, they despise the wisdom and knowledge that proceeds from Him. We recall that Jesus said we need “ears to hear” God’s word. The fear of the Lord is an excellent place to start.