There is an interesting verse in Solomon’s book of proverbs. We will get to it in a moment. What I find interesting about this book of sayings is this, it is considered “wisdom.” Solomon wrote these short and pithy statements as a way of remembering and training his children. When we consider this, we begin to see these wise words in a much more practical light. Their ultimate purpose was for those who learned these sayings to put them into practice somehow.
The verse that stands out to me is Proverbs 4:7. I have quoted it here in two of my favorite versions because it allows me to get a better sense of what Solomon was trying to say. Let’s look at them side by side.
|The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.||Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.|
In the first translation we are told that if we want to be wise we have to see what is wise. This is one of those “slap your head” moments. That does seem to make the most sense, if that was all Solomon said. We are supposed to get wisdom, but how do we know if what we are being given is wisdom of the kind Solomon is encouraging us to get? We find, almost as an afterthought the characteristic we need if wisdom is to have any value at all.
Solomon tells us that wisdom is useless if we are unable to put the wisdom we have acquired into practice through “insight” or “good judgement.” If you do not have the latter, the former is of no use to you.
Yes, we must pursue wisdom. Get as much as you can find, but the warning is to get wisdom in proportion to our ability to make the best use of it. It seems Solomon foresaw how we, as fallen and works-oriented beings, have a tendency to educate ourselves into ineptitude and ultimately idleness. We become satisfied in what we know rather than doing something with it.
Wisdom is good. But, wisdom plus good judgement is better.