The Principal Thing

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Paragraphs of Light

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 

(Prov 1:1-6)

The book of Proverbs is the greatest single volume in the history of the world respecting that one element of life that is to be obtained as “the principle thing”, wisdom. Greater than all the self-help books of the world combined, for it displays with wonderful luminescence the brightness of the wisdom of God, a light that shines in the darkness. Perhaps it will be the vainest of attempts on my part to expound on a book that is as infinitely condensed as the book of proverbs, nevertheless if there be a hope of gleaning the slightest candle of light from these wonderful paragraphs it will be of great value. 

In the first verse we have the introduction of the author of the book; Solomon the son of David. Though he is not the sole penman, the greatest content of the book of Proverbs are by him, with but a handful of chapters penned by others. 

Solomon writes of the purpose for the book, to know wisdom and instruction, the perception of understanding, the ability to see justice, judgement and equity, that is, those things that pertain to the fairness of life. All of this comes through that light which is given of the Lord, wisdom.

The purpose continues in order to give subtilty to the simple; “subtilty” being that word synonymous with ‘knowledge and discretion’, is given to the ‘simple’, that is those who are of an open heart, those desiring to learn wisdom. Just as “the common people heard him [Christ] gladly” (Mrk 12:37), so too it is the simple who are open to wisdom. This being a stark contrast to those who “are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” who will fill the last days (2 Tim 3:7). 

The other group is the young, these are the focus of this writing because it is that nourishment in youth that develops the character of the aged. “A wise man will hear” and will increase in learning, but fools we know despise wisdom and instruction (v7). The fool may remain a fool as long as the wise grow in wisdom, the disparity between them growing an ever widening gap until the one cannot come near the other, for all their conversation becomes foreign to each other. Nevertheless, those of understanding will continue to seek after wise counsels; the lesson then is to flee the fool lest you become like them, and instead gather to yourselves the wisest men as friends.

Pr Edi Giudetti

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