by Keith Sherlin

Proverbs 1:2-4 “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth

The seven themes or principles that unfold throughout the book of Proverbs are listed for us in this opening section of the book. Our Lord is concerned about his people having (1) wisdom and instruction. What is wisdom? It is the application of knowledge to real day-to-day scenarios. I often say that wisdom is the ligaments on the doctrinal bone structure. Wisdom helps the bones (doctrine) move in harmony and in coordination with one another. God also mentions instruction. That is the discipline to discern wisdom from foolishness. God desires for his people to have (2) the ability to understand words of insight, which means having the ability to know what is truly beneficial in contrast to that which is not. God is also concerned about his people being able to (3) gain or receive knowledge in how to deal with others in a (4) righteous, (5) just, (6) fair or equal manner. These are important social skills for life. Furthermore, God is concerned about (7) helping the simple or the youthful (young person) mature in knowledge and discretion.

Two different methodologies as to how we live our life in Christ exist today within the umbrella of Christianity. One method is to withdraw from life and to live an unexamined life (sometimes known as spatial separatism, monasticism, or neo-monasticism). The other method is to explore, to study, to learn, to become wise and skilled in the holistic truth of God, which is discovered in both special revelation and common revelation, and then to apply it as we dwell in the land working to cultivate faithfulness (see Psalm 37:1-7). The book of Proverbs points us towards the second methodology for life in Christ.