What is the way to wisdom? Proverbs opens and gives its readers two requirements for becoming wise: being teachable and fear.
The First Way to Wisdom is a Teachable Spirit
Proverbs opens and gives its readers two requirements for becoming wise: being teachable and fear. In Proverbs 1:5 Solomon says that the wise person listens, increases in learning, and obtains guidance from others. Having a teachable spirit is a quality that is perhaps even more scarce than wisdom in our culture, as instruction is often met with arrogant “I knows.” And yet, this is a requirement for becoming truly wise.
A teachable spirit that not only allows instruction but seeks it and guidance from others. In many ways, being teachable could simply be boiled down to humility. For all your knowledge you will never become wise until you can admit that you have much to learn and are willing to be taught.
This connects deeply to the idea of being a growing disciple of Christ. You will never grow as a Christian unless you are teachable. This is humbling, but so is the Gospel. So surely it is not too much of a stretch for you to move from realizing your sin and dependence on God for salvation to realizing that God is vastly more wise than you and that you have much to learn from Him and His Word. Be teachable and you will grow as a disciple and in wisdom, which are in all reality two married realities in Scripture, as there is no dichotomy between wisdom and maturity. This is the first requirement for those who seek the way to wisdom.
The Second Way to Wisdom is Godly Fear
Specifically fear, or reverence of God, or to put it another way, a healthy perspective of Who God is in relation to who you are. Solomon says that this type of fear is the beginning of wisdom in Proverbs 1:7.
Now, this is not a horror movie type of fear. Rather it is a respect, reverence, and deeply affectionate fear of God, His wisdom, His power, and the flourishing that adherence to His laws, precepts, and guidance can bring to a person’s life should they submit to God.
There is no wisdom apart from the fear of God. Knowledge perhaps, but knowledge that is not acted upon, nor knowledge that understands God rightly is still foolishness because in the end it is damning, as it does not lead to repentance and faith.
The way to wisdom begins with a right perspective of God, because any knowledge that does not put God at the center of existence and see Him as intimately involved in His creation leads to death and separation from God and that is foolishness.
You must see God rightly in order to be wise. See Him as creator. See Him as King. See Him as powerful and loving and good. See Him as most glorious and see His praise as your ultimate end, and then, and only then you will be wise.
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 For learning wisdom and discipline;
for understanding insightful sayings;
3 for receiving prudent instruction
in righteousness, justice, and integrity;
4 for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced,
knowledge and discretion to a young man—
5 let a wise person listen and increase learning,
and let a discerning person obtain guidance—
6 for understanding a proverb or a parable,
the words of the wise, and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and discipline.