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TEXT: Proverbs 1:1-7

SUBJECT: Proverbs #2: Wisdom


A."Wisdom" is normally translated from the Hebrew, HOKMA. This word is used very often in the Old Testament, and in a great variety of ways. It can mean anything from the magical superstition of the heathen to the scientific genius of Solomon.

B.In the Proverbs, it is employed in but two ways:

1.Sometimes, it is used in an intellectual sense. Hence, interchangably with "knowledge, understanding, instruction, learning" and so forth.

2.But normally, it has a more practical connotation. It refers, in other words, not merely to a well-informed mind, but to a well-ordered life. Hence, we constantly observe, not what "Wisdom Thinks", but "How It Acts"! For example:

a."By wisdom a house is built..."

b."He who gathers in the summer is a wise son..."

c."He who restrains his lips is wise...

C.Wisdom, therefore, can best be defined in two words: "Applied Knowledge". This brief definition well agrees with the uniform witness of Scripture, which indicates:

1.That you may be highly intellectual without wisdom. The saddest example of this fact, alas, is Solomon himself. He astounded the world with his understanding, but late in life, he stopped applying that knowledge, and became a fool.

2.Or, that you may be relatively ignorant, and yet wise. "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest" (6:6-8).

a.An ant is one of the smallest of animals. And she only knows three facts: 1. She must eat year-round. 2. Food is only available during the harvest months. 3. She must, therefore, prepare for the future. Thus, the ant, with her microscopic brain is wiser than some men.

3. So then, what is wisdom? Wisdom is "applied knowledge".


A.The importance of wisdom is succinctly put in 4:7, "Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore get wisdom and in all your getting, get understanding."

B.Its value is demonstrated in comparison to other things, 3:13-15.

C.Its importance is seen in the great blessing which attend it.

1.With regard to youself, observe:In this world, the wise man will be greatly blessed, 8:24-25, whereas the fool will be miserable, 5:1a,9-13. In the world to come, of course, these distinctions will be even more marked.

a.If, therefore, you care at all for yourself, you must make "Wisdom the principal thing".

2.With regard to others, wisdom is of the greatest value. 29:8. Again, therefore, if you love anyone in the world, then you must make the acquisition of wisdom of top priority.

3.With regard to God, etc.

D.So I put it to you bluntly. Are you esteeming wisdom as the "Principal thing"?


A.Wisdom is revealed in your relationship to God. 1:7

B.In your view of yourself, 14:16

C.In your relationship to others. Wisdom is marked by:

1.Humility, 12:15, 15:12

2.Generousity, 11:25, 12:16

3.Propriety, 25:11

4.Piety, 11:30.


A.Wisdom is universally available, 8:1-5.

B.Wisdom is particularly available,

1.To them with a right attitude, 9:10.

2.To them who honestly desire it, 2:1-5.

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