1:1-7 In these introductory verses of Proverbs, Solomon son of David, king of Israel (1:1) explains the purpose of the book. Proverbs is intended to make us wise. To be wise is to be disciplined, understanding, just, shrewd, and discerning (1:2-6). It’s the ability to take God’s perspective and turn it into functional application. It’s spiritual understanding applied to earthly living; it’s the God-given ability to make good decisions.
To have true knowledge is to perceive the right nature of a thing, and it is not possible to be truly wise without fearing the Lord. This doesn’t mean walking around feeling terrified of God. It means holding him in reverence, taking him seriously. Proverbs teaches that all true wisdom and knowledge is rooted in God and his Word, and it urges us to cultivate a fear of God through a relationship with him. The apostle Paul prayed for the Christians in Ephesus that God would give them a spirit of “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph 1:17), further suggesting that being wise means knowing and fearing God.
Proverbs teaches that the knowledge of God opens the door to wisdom. By contrast, fools despise wisdom and discipline (1:7). A fool is a self-centered person who lives life without regard to wisdom and moral values. A fool rejects God’s perspective. The Bible (and Proverbs in particular) commands us to become wise and condemns us if we don’t.