Proverbs – The wisdom of Proverbs



Wisdom as a topic of the whole book but with a focus on chapter 8.



Wisdom is one of those words that is rather like a diamond with many facets. There is no simple one line definition to describe wisdom – To use another illustraion; it is like a rainbow with many colours but the distinvtion between the colours is not always clear cut – there is overlap and the colours run into each other.


Wisdom is a major theme of the book of Proverbs – the writers use a number of words to convey their message about wisdom.


There are 5 words use in Hebrew which if we have a closer look at, will help us to understand the overall meaning of Biblical wisdom.




a) Instruction or training.


These carry with them the idea of sternness ranging from warning to chastening. Does not always mean this but this is the usual meaning.


Proverbs 3:11

11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline

and do not resent his rebuke, (NIV)


Proverbs 23:13

13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;

if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. (NIV)


The attainmement of wisdom involves discipline – from the Lord and from the rod. {the context is love} – modern trends want us to believe that smacking children inevitably leads to abuse and psychological damage to a person. [of course this kind of physical discipline can be abused]  Smacking must be in love, meaured, not in anger, and as a small part of overall love and discipline. Proverbs is quite clear that physical punishment is part of training of children.


The consequences for lack of discipline are seen very clearly in our society – juvenile delinquency and yobbish behaviour have risen markedly in the last generation.


The companion word that goes along with ‘instruction’, is ‘correction’ [or reproof]  – the idea is verbal, rather than physical persuasion. i.e. appeal to reason and conscience.


Wisdom marries the verbal and the physical


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