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Bible Thought

An Ignorant Soul is Not a Good Soul

A Soul Without Knowledge

Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.

Proverbs 19:2

It is difficult to go through life without an education. We can see babies constantly looking to take in as much information as they can. We often hear parents say that their baby is like a sponge. This is a true statement of any baby. It is their nature. They desire information (knowledge) so they can make sense of the world (understanding).

This verse says that it is not good to be without knowledge. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to have a university education, but they need to have a desire to learn. Self education is what we participate in for our entire lives. Now it is a matter of how much work we actually put into it.

There has never been a time in our world when a person could so easily obtain knowledge than the times we live in today. Even without access to the internet, there are free resources available in just about any community.

I’ve traveled in many countries and love going into public libraries to see what they might have available. Sadly, free access to information is not a privilege every citizen of the world has available to them through a good public library system. But, that doesn’t mean that self-education is not possible. With curiosity and a desire to meet wiser and more experienced people, a person can obtain a better education than what they have now.

However, if you are reading this, then you have access to information. Avail yourself to that information. An ignorant soul is not a good soul.

A Soul With Wisdom

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

Proverbs 19:8

The one who works to obtain wisdom is one who loves himself. This is not an inappropriate self-centeredness; rather, it is a desire for improvement. It is a desire to learn how to understand the world and make wise decisions in light of that understanding.

Getting wisdom requires work. After knowledge is obtained, there has to be some experience with that knowledge to bring about understanding. The application of that understanding brings wisdom. Work is required.

The word translated getteth in verse 8 means to buy, trade, obtain. The idea is like that of a merchant who is always on the hunt for products to buy, sell and trade. He doesn’t accidentally find something that he can take to the marketplace. He is actively in search of new products.

We should always be searching for wisdom. Remember that Proverbs 4 says we can get wisdom and understanding. It is not something outside our abilities to obtain.

The second half of the verse says that the one who keeps a guard on his understanding will find those good things he has been searching for.

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Bible Thought

Through Desire a Man Has Wisdom

1 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

Proverbs 18: 1, 2, 15

Again we see that knowledge, wisdom and understanding are things that can be obtained. Don’t fall into the false belief that you are either smart or you are not. Certainly some people have had more opportunities in life to get a better education than others, but acquiring knowledge, understanding and wisdom come through desire and work.

Not everyone has the same capacity for obtaining knowledge, but everyone has the ability to try harder to make use of the knowledge and understanding they already have. My point is that you don’t need to be self limiting and think that the wisdom found in Proverbs is only available to someone else. God put it in His Word for each of us.

Through Desire

Verse one tells us that we must have a desire for wisdom. We can obtain wisdom, but it doesn’t happen if we aren’t seeking it. Wisdom comes to those who are seeking for it.

The word translated intermeddleth means to fight with, to quarrel. Wisdom isn’t something you casually pick up along the way of life. It is something you have to strive for and maybe struggle with to obtain.

A Fool Has No Interest in Understanding

While a wise man desires to obtain understanding, verse two tells us that a fool has no desire to understand. Certainly this understanding would be applied to an understanding of God’s wisdom—His Word. But I think we see it demonstrated in many other areas too.

Have you met people who have no interest in learning new things? They have no curiosity or ability to wonder at something for the sheer joy of learning. While not everyone needs to be interested in every subject, these people seem to be interested in nothing.

When I see a Christian who seemingly takes no joy in learning anything new, I have to wonder if they are even interested in learning God’s Word and benefiting from the understanding that obedience to Him brings.

Getting and Seeking Knowledge

The prudent one (literally the understanding one) seeks for more knowledge. They aren’t satisfied with what they have. They want more understanding. They are constantly working to obtain more understanding. Understanding with the experience of application of that understanding brings wisdom.

This is not to say that a person needs to seek facts and figures for the sake of just knowing information. The goal is wisdom—an understanding of the facts that helps him apply that knowledge in life.

Not knowledge for knowledge’s sake; rather, knowledge that leads to wisdom for the sake of God’s kingdom.

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Bible Thought

Wisdom Can Be Found by Those Who Are Seeking

Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

Proverbs 17:24

As we’ve seen before, wisdom comes from understanding and understanding comes from knowledge. We see these three words (knowledge, understanding and wisdom) over and over in the book of Proverbs. In the case of Proverbs 17:24 we are told that the person who has understanding will see wisdom all around them.

This verse could be read a couple of different ways I suppose. Both are valid and consistent with the text. It can mean that wisdom (personified many times in Proverbs) goes in front of and guides. Or, that wisdom is generally present with the person who has understanding.

Wisdom Guides

Wisdom is given personality in Proverbs. In the early chapters there are whole sections where wisdom speaks directly to the reader. She is there to guide those who are looking to her for direction.

To the person who has understanding, wisdom leads them to greater understanding. Knowledge is facts, but understanding is having experience with that knowledge to the point of the facts becoming intuitive. You spend less time thinking about the facts, but have a greater ability to use those facts when needed. That is understanding.

Wisdom—the skill that comes from applying understanding—will guide the person into making the right choices.

Wisdom Is Present

The more primary meaning of the words used in Proverbs 17:24 is that of wisdom being present with the person of understanding.

Do you feel comfortable in the presence of certain people? Are you uneasy in the presence of certain other people? It could be because the person has a higher perceived status than you or you just don’t like them for whatever reason. The main reason we are less comfortable with certain people is that we don’t know them as well as we do others.

We are comfortable in the presence of those we know well. Those who we consider friends or who just have a comforting presence about them. There are certain pastors that I have been with in more than 25 years of traveling church ministry that I love to get with any chance I can. I am comfortable in their presence. There are others that make me want to check to see if my tie is on straight and that I don’t have any stray hairs sticking up on my bald head. It is not because they are unkind or mean, but that I haven’t had as much personal time with them.

How familiar are you with wisdom? Has she been a consistent presence in your life to the point you are comfortable around her? Or, are you struggling to even find her?

The Bible says that wisdom can become a companion. A familiar friend. How? By learning what God’s Word says (knowledge) and gaining experience with it to the point of understanding. This is when wisdom can show up and guide. She can be part of your daily life.

But just learning God’s Word does not necessarily bring understanding and the presence of wisdom. You must apply it. Get God’s Word into your head (think right) and then apply God’s Word in your actions (do right).

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

At some point we will have to take a look at the second half of Proverbs 17:24 where it talks about the fool searching for something, but not finding wisdom.