“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5 HCSB).
A key difference between us, as modern readers of the Bible, and the ancient readers of the Bible is that we tend to think and express ourselves and our ideas in more abstract ways. Wisdom for us often refers to a cognitive ability. We may say that wisdom represents our ability to use our knowledge, but in actuality wisdom remains abstract and cognitive.
Wisdom, in the Bible, is a skill that one learns and can acquire through discipline. In other words, we can train ourselves to be wise—in fact, from the Bible’s point of view, we cannot be wise unless we seek wisdom and train it through discipline.
Read the passage above (Proverbs 2:1-5). Circle how many times the author said “if.” The “if” statements require action on our part: “If” you will do this, “then” you will understand. So how does one find knowledge? Accept, treasure, seek, and search; cry out for it. Pursue it. This is not something abstract. Rather, it requires our intentional action.
When the author speaks about “directing your heart,” the heart within the Bible does not refer to the seat of emotions; rather, “heart” refers to what we think of as our cognitive center, our “mind.” Wisdom, then, isn’t something we feel; it’s something we learn, train, and do.
Accepting, treasuring, and searching does not mean simply learning about the commandments; it means that we internalize them, think about them, meditate on them, and do them.
Within the Bible, wisdom comes from internalizing the commandments and doing them. One who does this fears the Lord, and that is how one acquires knowledge and wisdom according to the Bible.
Lord, today, let me pursue Your words and learn Your commandments. Let me mediate upon them, so that I might acquire wisdom and fear You. Amen.
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