The Beginning of Knowledge – Part One
by John S Picarello
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
What a fascinating statement Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) makes here, this one sentence clearly states where any human being can find the point of origin for true knowledge. What vast implications this has for all society, especially education and the pursuit of higher learning.
The word fear is better understood as reverential awe – humility before God. So, reverence and humility before God is where an unbiased hearing of all genuine knowledge begins. Knowing the truth about anything begins and ends with God. He who created all things is the only one who knows and understands how and why all things exist and are intended to function.
Genuine knowledge of things in general is obviously accessible by people who seek it out. The real issue is not about knowing the facts that we all agree on, but whether or not we believe God is the origin of those facts. An over simplification of this would be doing a mathematical equation, the numbers will add up for anyone who does the math correctly regardless of their faith or lack of it.
Solomon goes on to say that those who are foolish will reject God’s wisdom and instruction; believing there’s another more feasible way to achieve the same ends. Rejecting the one in whom all real knowledge originates is what makes the person who does so, foolish. Solomon’s father David stated that “The unfolding of your (God’s) word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).
In order avoid foolishness, a person must come to the realization that “the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).
In Search of Wisdom and Knowledge
The Apostle Paul tells the Church at Colossae that “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ” (Colossians 2:3). Paul is saying that all wisdom and all knowledge is found in Christ alone!
This is exactly what Isaiah said about the Messiah: “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2).
Neither David, Solomon, Isaiah, or Paul were speaking about “religious spiritual” knowledge, they were referring to “all” knowledge. Whether it’s mathematics, science, psychology, business, education, or politics etc…, making a living or starting a family, the genuine wisdom and knowledge for all of these and anything else are found in the person of Christ!
Don’t Be Fooled
In Paul’s letter he goes on to warn the Church: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Paul makes it very clear that there are only two choices when it comes to wisdom and knowledge, that which originates with human traditions or that which originates with God. Our choice will determine whether we are being wise or foolish.
Paul calls all wisdom and knowledge that does not come from God “hollow and deceptive philosophy.” The only hope any person has for holding an accurate worldview based on true wisdom and knowledge, is to begin his or her thinking with God’s Word. This is the only solid foundation on which to build a life as God intended.
No Other Foundation
No other foundation but God’s Word sustains life as it was designed to be lived. Paul told the Church at Rome just how people can become foolish when he wrote; “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22).
This is exactly what happens when people choose a philosophy of life that has its origins in the traditions of human opinions, and not on the wisdom and knowledge found in Christ alone.
Paul in guiding the mission of the Church in keeping with God’s global strategy of world redemption, states “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).
Being a Wise or Foolish Builder
In conclusion, how we build and which philosophy of life we use is given to us to choose. All through the Scriptures people are told that there are only two paths of life to choose from. Which path we take will determine who we are serving – God or ourselves.
In Deuteronomy 30:19-20 Moses relaying God’s message to His people says; “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” Notice, in His great love for people God directs them to the right choice for their good and for the good of their descendants, “Now choose life.”
Jesus clearly summs up the correct philosophy of life this way: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
So, Please choose wisely, choose God’s wisdom and knowledge, and build your life on that. Be Blessed, and Be Encouraged.-JSP