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The Beginning of Knowledge
Proverbs 1:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
“The fear of Jehovah” is the repeated theme of wisdom found in the book of Proverbs. One who fears Jehovah, he has the qualities of humility (15:33; 22:4), wisdom (1:7), possessing faithfulness and Godly love (16:6), and a concern for his relationship with God (2:5; 9:10). In the book of Proverbs, fear of Jehovah is related to faith in God that is constantly seeking understanding. In what way is “the fear of Jehovah” “the beginning of knowledge” and ‘the beginning of wisdom’? (9:10) If we did not have a fear of Jehovah (i.e., not a morbid dread of him but rather a profound reverence and awe in the presence of such an all-powerful person), we would have no knowledge, for the Father is the Creator of all things and the Author of the Spirit-inspired Scriptures. Therefore, we need to give Jehovah the proper place in our life. Life is from the Father, and life is, of course, indispensable for our having any knowledge.
Thus, on the threshold of this treasure house of wisdom, we are presented with one of the sharp contrasts with which the book abounds. There is no true knowledge apart from the fear of Jehovah. Again, the fear of Jehovah is not some morbid fear, but reverence and fear of displeasing him because of the love one has for him. All those making insincere claims to the name, and ignores him, is but foolish. It is well for all of us to bear this in mind when meeting the difficulties of Satan’s world. Many of the higher educated have cast to the winds the fear of Jehovah and ruled him out of his own creation. Thinking that they are all wise, they have become the fool.
The gift of life comes from Jehovah, the loss of perfect life was at the hands of rebellious man, and the restoration to everlasting life is an underserved kindness shown to man, from his Creator. Without life, there would be no knowledge. (Ps. 36:9; Ac 17:25, 28) The fact that God is the Creator of every living thing means that we need to have a better understanding of him, not the other way around. (Ps. 19:1-2; Rev. 4:11) Aside from the opportunity at everlasting life, God has given us his Word, the Bible, which “is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) Therefore, the knowledge that is to be desired most is to be found with our heavenly Father, and if it is our desire to find the very knowledge of God, we must have a reverential fear of him.
The apostle Paul tells us, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor. 1:20) Anyone who lacks the fear of Jehovah, even the wisest man who has ever lived, he will end up drawing wrong conclusions from what he believes to be known facts and end up being ‘a fool.’ The fear of Jehovah means that we dedicate our entire life of Godly devotion to the Father. The unbeliever may come to some basic truths about life, as he too is the product of being in the image of God (meaning his intellect comes from the Creator); however, he will never come to have the true or ultimate knowledge until he has a profound reverence and awe in the presence of such an all-powerful person, as Jehovah God.
 (cf. 1:29; 2:5; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26, 27; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17)
 Leo G. Perdue, Wisdom & Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature (Nashville: Abingdon, 1994), p. 79.