This God-centerd focus is what distinguishes Biblical proverbs from other ancient proverbs. In Proverbs 3, the father used five verbs to describe life with God.
- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
A person who fears the Lord accepts wisdom and instruction; takes advice; trusts in the Lord with all his heart; and acknowledges the Lord in all his dealings. This person does not see himself and his own opinion as basis for what he believes and does. He recognizes his own inadequacies and God’s superiority. Therefore he is teachable and accepts counsel.
Fools, by contrast, despise wisdom and instruction and scoff at rebuke. The fool’s way seems right to him; he is wise in his own eyes. The fool does not fear the Lord and only accepts advice and counsel if it agrees with what he already concludes— he thinks he knows better.
The fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom does not mean it’s the first step and after taken, you move on to other matters. It is the beginning in that it is the primary and controlling factor in the pursuit of wisdom. To profit from proverbs and gain wisdom you must start with an attitude that recognizes God’s superiority, especially over your own opinions.