“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Solomon here teaches that true knowledge and wisdom can only be attained by one who has a proper respect for the Lord God and His teachings – by one who “fears” God. To fear God is to recognize His Greatness, Power and Sovereignty. To be properly “awed” by His attributes.
The fear of God has dual meaning. In one sense, it means “terror” – fear God because He has the power to judge our eternal soul. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 5:11a) In another sense, it means to have a reverent awe for God. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
One cannot come to “a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4) without due respect for God and His Word. The knowledge that leads to true wisdom begins with the fear of God. True wisdom can only be found by turning to God’s Word. According to Solomon in Proverbs 1:7, “fools despise wisdom” – the wisdom of God. The fool is further describes in Proverbs 1:29-30, “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.” The “fool” in Proverbs is the man who is identified as being “simple” or the man identified as a” slanderer” or a perverse person. The “fool” despises God and takes no thought of Him in his dealings.
The fool will not be saved unless he embraces the wisdom of God by turning to the Word of God. We are saved by faith “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Faith comes by hearing the Word. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The Word of God teaches obedience to all of God’s commandments. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3) Commandments such as, confession (Romans 10:9-10) and repentance, followed by baptism. (Acts 2:38) God wants all to be saved, even fools. [God] “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
Do you want “To know wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:2)? Do you want to “increase learning” and become “a man [or woman] of understanding” (Proverbs 1:5)? Do you want to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18)? Then “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Do that and do it often and you will “love life, and see good days.” (1 Peter 3:10)