Proverbs 1:2, To know wisdom and instruction;
(to perceive the words of understanding;) See next commentary
In verses two through six Solomon sets forth that purpose which he intends his proverbs to accomplish.
He has an end in view. He is not writing proverbs to impress others of his wisdom.
He is not writing proverbs to make a name for himself.
The proverbs are designed to bring about a definite result.
They are words that if accepted as God's word and applied, will bring about fruit in the lives of those who hear them.
And I mean that kind of hearing that produces obedience, not simply the hearing of the ear!
Solomon's Proverbs are God's word and as God's word they are designed to not return unto God void.
That is, they are not to return without success, but to accomplish that which He pleases.
They are designed to produce fruit in God's vineyard.
God does not do anything that does not produce fruit.
He is a husbandman and husbandmen devote all their efforts in fruit production.
God is a husbandman who always uses good seed, and that seed is his word including the book of Proverbs.
The book of Proverbs is not an easy curriculum.
It is not a curriculum that produces fruit in the casual reader.
The book of Proverbs does not yield itself to a ho-hum or hit or miss approach to Bible study.
God has told us in the Psalms to taste and see that the Lord is good.
We are to taste his word to see that the Lord is good.
He has said: Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.
If fruit bearing is to be realized the book of Proverbs requires a wide mouth student.
It requires a student that takes a mouthful and employs every taste bud to enter into the evaluation of seeing that the Lord is good.
It is like a wine taster that fills his mouth with wine and gargles the wine throughout every part of his mouth as he measures the taste of the wine.
The wine maker wants his wine to be tasted to the fullest.
He does not want his wine to be judged based upon a casual taste.
The book of Proverbs is like that.
It promises much and as such requires much of the student if fruit is to result.
But the result is worth any effort because the result is better than the merchandise of silver and the gain thereof than fine gold.
The result is more precious than rubies and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
But Solomon requires a diligence worthy of such treasure.
The fruit of Proverbs is not gained by the sluggard or the slothful.
Do the slothful ever gain the diamonds of a diamond mine?
Getting diamonds out of a diamond mine is hard work and the slothful are not up to it.
It takes a workman to benefit from the Proverbs because the purpose of the Proverbs is so consequential.
It is a matter of life or death!
Look at what Solomon desires to result from the Proverbs.
1) The proverbs of Solomon to know wisdom.
2) The proverbs to know instruction.
3) The proverbs to perceive the words of understanding.
4) The proverbs to to receive the instruction of wisdom.
5) The proverbs to to receive the instruction of justice.
6) The proverbs to to receive the instruction of judgment.
7) The proverbs to to receive the instruction of equity.
8) The proverbs to give subtlety to the simple.
9) The proverbs to give to the young man knowledge.
10) The proverbs to give to the young man discretion.
11) The proverbs to understand a proverb.
12) The proverbs to interpret a proverb.
He guarantees that a wise man will hear his proverbs.
He guarantees that a wise man will increase learning.
He guarantees that a wise man will attain unto wise counsels.
He guarantees that the proverbs will give understanding of the words of the wise.
He guarantees that the proverbs will give understanding of dark sayings of the wise.
Do you know any other book that will make such claims?
Only a book that is inspired by God can deliver what Solomon says the proverbs will do.
Knowing wisdom and knowing instruction. These are the first grand results that Solomon purposes.
Man does not come into this world with wisdom.
Man may gain much knowledge but unless he knows the right use of knowledge he does not have wisdom.
Wisdom uses knowledge to chose the right things and determine the right means to accomplish them.
Wisdom is the right use of knowledge for the advancement of the plan and program of God.
The knowledge of the world is not used for the advancement of the plan and program of God.
But the knowledge that God gives is to be used rightly.
One of Solomon's proverbs tell us that: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom because fearing the Lord puts you upon the foundational truth that knowledge is given for the advancement of the plan and program of God.
To fear the Lord is to know that you are accountable to God and as such you are to use knowledge rightly and using knowledge rightly is wisdom.
Using knowledge outside of those boundaries is the mark of a fool.
Jesus Christ had perfect knowledge and he only used that knowledge for the advancement of the plan and program of God.
He perfectly obeyed the Father's will. Therefore he is the embodiment of wisdom
John 12:49, For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
Perfectly using knowledge to advance the plan and program of God gives Jesus Christ the right to be called Wisdom personified.
To know wisdom then is to know Jesus Christ and Solomon's first purpose for his proverbs is to know wisdom.
The primary lesson of the book of Proverbs is to know Jesus Christ.
This truth is the foundational truth upon which all other purposes of the book must rest.
Second purpose: The proverbs of Solomon to know instruction.
Man does not come into this world knowing instruction.
The word instruction of verse two is from a Hebrew word for chastisement or reproofs.
So a result of the proverbs is to know chastisement.
It means when to know that instruction applies to you and not only to another.
It means to perceive with certainty, to understand clearly that the truth applies to you and to welcome the instruction or chastisement since it brings you closer to wisdom.
Unless you know this you do not know instruction.
You may know about instruction but you do not know instruction.
You are wise if reproof is welcomed.
You are wise if chastisement is received with gladness because instruction is designed to conform you to Wisdom himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Heb 12:10-11 says he chastens us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Chastening yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
So the second purpose of the proverbs of Solomon is to know instruction as a friend.
Proverbs 1:2, To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
The proverbs to know wisdom will lead the young man to know Jesus Christ who is wisdom personified.
The proverbs to know instruction, that is to know chastisement, reproof, or correction, will lead the young man to welcome instruction as a friend.
A purpose of proverbs is to lead a young man to love instruction.
He will welcome instruction as a friend because instruction is designed to increase him in wisdom, that is to conform him to Jesus Christ.
Shunning or despising or turning off instruction by ones attitude is a sign of a fool for the Bible tells us that fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The man that refuses to hear instruction despises his own soul because hearing instruction, hearing reproof is healthy for the soul.
If I refuse to hear instruction, that is correction, that is chastisement, I am saying that I am not interested in a soul that can be all God wants it to be!
I despise my soul instead of loving my own soul.
Proverbs 19:8, He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
Solomon continues in verse two with his intention for his proverbs that they give to the young man the ability to perceive the words of understanding.
There are multitudes of words. The world is full of words.
There are voices clamoring to be heard everywhere in our world.
Presidential candidate Steve Forbes spends millions of dollars from his family fortune to be heard as he runs for the presidency.
Radio and television commentators would shed their own blood for good ratings defined by the numbers of people that listen or view.
Television preachers seek vast audiences with their multitude of words.
But how does a young man or young woman know what words are words of understanding?
Solomon intends for his proverbs to provide tools by which words of understanding can be known.
Understanding means standing under.
The sense of the word understanding is to support: it means a holding.
It means to hold in the mind.
I've got it! the student cries.
It was elusive and I could not quite capture it but now my mind has captured it and it is mine.
I understand. I have the same ideas as the person who instructs me or speaks to me.
I'm on the same wave length as my teacher!
My mind knows the real state of things presented to it.
The Holy Spirit has gotten through to me and now I know what this verse means, the Bible student cries!
I have an understanding! I am standing under knowledge and holding it in my mind. I understand!
One of the marks of wisdom is whenever wisdom instructs she uses words of understanding.
Her words are words that promote understanding.
Wisdom's words are not designed to confuse but they are always designed to enlighten, to clarify, to separate.
Wisdom uses words that advance the knowledge of the holy because the knowlege of the holy is understanding, Solomon tells us in his proverbs.
Without the knowledge of the holy all understanding is built on shifting sands pushed by the winds of change.
And as on sand there are no absolute foundations.
Wisdom presents foundational principals upon which understanding is built.
And unless those foundational principals are received there will be no true understanding.
So a purpose of the proverbs is for the young man to perceive these words among all the words that he hears.
What are the right words to focus on?
What are the right ideas? What are the right causes?
Who is speaking words of understanding?
The proverbs will give him the wherewithal to separate the words of understanding from those that are not the words of understanding.
He will understand that which is right from that which is wrong.
He will learn separation, he will learn the power of separation.
He will know the demagogue when he hears him speak on the radio, television or on the street.
He will recognize the words of a false preacher or a false leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises to gain personal power and standing.
He will perceive words whether they are words that contribute to his knowledge of the holy or whether they cater to his flesh.
The proverbs are designed to give him discernment as to what knowledge or words will give him understanding.
The proverbs are designed to give him the ability to distinguish, the ability to discriminate, the ability to know what contributes to understanding or what takes away from understanding.
In other words Solomon's proverbs will provide him the tools to answer the question, Who and what should I allow my ears to listen to?
Where should I spend my time?
What words shall I allow to enter my mind?
Who shall be my teacher?
Where shall I attend school?
Who will be my friends?
Who shall be my mate?
The proverbs are designed to give the man of Psalm 1:1:
the tools to walk not in the counsel of the ungodly,
the tools to not stand in the way of sinners,
the tools to not sit in the seat of the scornful.
That does not just happen!
There must be a preparation.
There must be a time of training.
And Solomon sets out the curriculum for that preparation and that training in his proverbs.