The Beginning of Knowledge

Proverb for Today

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, MEV)


Remember when you were in grade school?

It’s the first day of pre-algebra (yikes!). You’ve got your fresh new pencil case, packed way too full with mechanical pencils, erasers, a ruler, a protractor, a compass—you remember, right? You sit at your desk, apprehensive, wondering what new kind of torture this . . . “algebra” . . . is going to be.

Then it happens.

Your teacher hands out a “pop quiz.” And your heart sinks. You have no clue how to find “x” or why it’s lost in the first place! And you’ve never even seen letters in math before?! What in the world?! You break out in a cold sweat as your teacher explains you have 15 minutes to finish the quiz. 15 minutes flies by and your quiz sheet is embarrassingly blank. You didn’t even know how to start!

Thankfully, your teacher explains this quiz was to show you what you didn’t know about algebra, to point out how important it was to start at the beginning and build up from there in order to conquer the terrifying world of algebra. And no, the 37% you scored on this quiz won’t count against your class grade. Phew!

Come to think of it, this situation plays out all throughout life. We nervously enter day one of a new job, new relationship, new friendship, new project, new life-stage—we face “new” all throughout life, almost daily. And more times than we care to admit, it’s straight up scary. Sometimes even terrifying. In each scenario, one principle always applies: start at the beginning, and build up from there. Slowly but surely, we build our knowledge through experience, trial and error, and mentorship and training.

But what about knowledge as a Christian? How do we grow in the knowledge we need to have to wisely navigate life the way God has called us to? Lucky for us, Solomon tells us where to start: with the fear of God. The simplest way I can explain “the fear of God” is a sense of awe, respect, and submission to God and His commands.

Where does knowledge start? Living in awe, respect, and submission to God. Simple as that. How do we live in the fear of God? In large part, by living within what God has outlined in the Bible. Thankfully, we don’t have to blindly work through trial and error as a Christian. Our knowledge begins within the framework God has given us in His Word. As we start the new year, commit to studying more of the Bible and applying it to your life.

You want to be wise? You want to grow in knowledge? Start by studying God’s Word and living in reverential awe, respect, and submission to Him.


Reflect and Respond

  • What are some practical things you’ve done to study and apply God’s Word to your life?
  • What new ways of study and application are you going to commit to this year?
  • How can you help others around you grow in the fear of God?
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