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We Cannot Have Wisdom Without Knowledge
Proverbs 9:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom: “The fear of Jehovah” is the repeated theme of wisdom found in the book of Proverbs. One who fears Jehovah has the qualities of humility (15:33; 22:4), wisdom (1:7), possessing faithfulness and Godly love (16:6), and 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.
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding: Albert Barnes writes, “the holy [one] The word in the Heb. is plural, agreeing, probably, with Elohim understood (so in 30:3). The knowledge of the Most Holy One stands as the counterpart of the fear of Jehovah.” Knowledge (דַּעַת daath) is the possession of information learned by personal experience, observation, or study. The Bible strongly urges us to seek and treasure accurate knowledge, as it is far superior to gold. Here Holy One has a plural ending, which is used at times to refer to saintly persons, heavenly beings, or angels (see Psa. 34:9; Job 5:1; 15:15; Zech. 14:5), so this has caused some to see the plural here referring to “holy men.” However, the parallelism here evidence otherwise; the pluralism is used to emphasize the holiness of God.
Another example of this is the plural form of God (elim; elohim), which is used when referring to other gods, such as in Exodus 15:11 (“gods”). It is also used as the plural of majesty, dignity, and excellence. There is no wisdom apart from God. Understanding (בִּינָה binah) is the ability to see how the parts or aspects of something are connected to one another. One who possesses understanding can see the big picture (the entire matter) and not just the isolated facts. A true understanding of all facets of human life involves our appreciation of its relation to God and his will and purposes.
We cannot have wisdom without knowledge. Furthermore, if we lack the fear of Jehovah, we will not use whatever knowledge we acquire to honor the Creator. What is the crucial criterion for wisdom? It is the fear of Jehovah. Of course, this is not some morbid dread but is reverential awe for Jehovah God. We may be very studious and have acquired a storehouse of Bible knowledge. However, suppose it has not gotten down into our heart, the seat of motivation, moving us into reverential awe of Jehovah. In that case, we will not have the wisdom to apply the knowledge correctly. Moreover, the knowledge of Jehovah is crucial if we are to gain insight or understanding, a facet of wisdom.
 (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.
 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Jeremiah, Lamentations & Ezekiel, ed. F. C. Cook and J. M. Fuller (London: John Murray, 1879), 33.
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