In our second installment in our Proverbs series, we will explore the admonishment of Solomon following his statement of purpose. The following is an infographic showing the verses and the Strong’s Concordance numbers associated with each noun and verb:
Note: the infographic above includes the definitions of the words in the original language based on the Strong’s Concordance.
Remember, never assume you have a full understanding of the words until you look up their meanings for yourself. We recommend using a Strong’s Concordance and a dictionary. If you are unable to purchase these items, you can use Biblehub.com and Dictionary.com to help you in your studies. Whenever anyone makes claims from the bible, we must be like the Bereans and search to see if those claims are true. (Acts 17:11)
Let’s look at a composite definition of the previous terms:
An intelligent skillful man will hear attentively and obediently to augment instruction he has received. A man who has the ability to distinguish between things and mark things as different will procure (or create) structures for guidance (or direction) to help him distinguish (identify) an expression (statement) of truth and its’ meaning.
The implication of Solomon’s statements is that a wise reader will be obedient to his words to add to the knowledge he (the reader) already has. If the reader is wise enough to distinguish between that which is true (and right) and that which is false (and wrong), then he will develop groups of wise counselors to guide him into understanding words of wisdom.
Solomon’s assertion about wise men is very similar to statements made by the apostle James. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving you own selves.“ (James 1:22) Remember the definition of hear in Proverbs is obedience. You cannot expect to be wise if you don’t hear and do. James says if you hear and don’t do, you are deceiving yourself. If you are deceived, how can you be wise? Wisdom comes from obedience to God’s law. (Please read the first installment in this series for more on the subject.)
The obedient listener of the law will continue to grow as he continues to submit to the law of God.
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:17-18)
The verses before these are talking about adhering to the Scriptures and Paul’s writings. During the time of the apostles, the Scriptures consisted of the writings known as the Old Testament. Peter was trying to explain how not to be “led away with the error of the wicked,” concerning conduct and sin. In verse 11 and 12, Peter asks, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” Peter is talking about the end of this unrighteous world and how we must conduct ourselves in this world. The word conversation means behavior or conduct in the Greek. Peter is encouraging the church to remain in holy conduct as outlined in the Scripture (the Old Testament). We are not to be led away with the error of the wicked, being hearers but not doers of things (the law) we knew before. (Note: Take some time to study II Peter 3 to thoroughly understand Peter’s point.) Also read Prov. 9:9 which makes a similar point of the wise growing in knowledge.
Suffice it to say, Peter is saying we cannot grow in knowledge (wisdom) if we are falling into the error of disobedience. If you want to be wise and you want to grow in knowledge, you must read (and hear) the law of God and be a doer of that law. Self-deception comes from believing we don’t have to be obedient to the things we read in the Bible.
To be wise, we need knowledge and action. A wise man is actively obedient when hearing the word of God, whereas the unwise will do the opposite. It is written that the word of God is like a mirror showing a man his face. The unwise will see what he should do, but go away from the mirror forgetting the way the laws tell him he should be. (James 1:23-25)
Obedience to the word of God will add to the knowledge of wise men. Meditate on this parable of Christ. (Matt. 7:24-27) If we want to be wise, then we must attentively study the word of God and obediently apply what we learn to add to our knowledge. The following point must be reiterated: wisdom originates from learning how God wants us to live (His laws) and following it to the best of your ability. Subsequently, the only way to add to your wisdom is to dig deeper into the law of God.
Fools Shouldn’t Be Counselors
Now, a wise man obedient to the law of God will gather to himself wise counselors to support him in further understanding the truth. Therefore, a wise man will refrain from the foolish. (Prov. 9:6)
Note the following verse: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Prov. 13:20)
Do not become a companion of fools because it will lead to your destruction. Fools are not going to lead you or help you into understanding truth and wisdom. Contrarily, spending time with the wise will give you access to wisdom which will help you navigate through life. Meditate on the saying birds of a feather flock together. A wise man will not surround himself with the unwise because he will see the folly in them and disassociate himself from them. The implication of Prov. 13:20 is you must identify wise men and set yourself among those men to seek their counsel as in Prov. 1:5-6.
Ask yourself this: do you expect to receive wise advice from foolish people? Look at Prov. 15:2. Never seek guidance at the mouths of fools. Remember, this verse the next time you seek guidance from others: “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” (Prov. 19:20)
As you navigate through life, set your sight on being wise, but remember true wisdom comes from obedience to the commands of God. This is a concept we must repeat and recall in every installment. As you maintain obedience to God, find wise counselors who are also obedient to God and those counselors will help you increase in your obedience and wisdom. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Prov. 27:17)