|Volume 23 Number 9 September 2021
When Solomon became King of Israel, his father instructed him to faithfully follow and obey his Lord (1 Kings 2:1-4). Solomon reigned as King of Israel for forty years, though he did not always follow the advice of his father. Yet, as long as he did, he was successful (1 Kings 11:41-43). When God invited Solomon to ask God for whatever he desired as king, he asked for wisdom. God granted Solomon’s request and gave him wisdom that would far surpass any king before or after him in Israel (1 Kings 3:5-12).
Solomon’s wisdom was on display through his problem-solving skills (1 Kings 3:16-28), building projects (1 Kings 5-9) and the various proverbs and songs that he spoke (1 Kings 4:32). Fortunately for students of Scripture, Solomon’s wisdom did not die with him but is preserved for us through many of his writings, especially the Book of Proverbs. Notice a few important lessons about wisdom that we learn from the wisest king in Israel’s history.
Fear the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10)
While our world equates wisdom with reading many books, a high IQ and lots of degrees, Solomon painted a different picture. Solomon said the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). The wise person is one who understands his or her role in relation to the Creator of the universe. True wisdom realizes that God is the omnipotent and omniscient One before Whom we should bow and honor. Solomon received his wisdom from God, and we also will as long as we remember where we stand in relation to Him (Colossians 2:3; James 1:5). The Lord gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:6) but only to those who fear Him. Some arrogantly approach God and others apathetically ignore Him, but the wise approach Him in godly reverence. Wisdom does not start with human intelligence but instead with a healthy fear of the Lord (Matthew 10:28).
Wisdom Resides with the Humble (Proverbs 11:2)
Pride brings shame (KJV), dishonor (NASB) or disgrace (ESV), but with the humble there is wisdom. Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge. It involves the ability to live skillfully. Wisdom involves making good choices based on instruction, experience or observation. Proud (arrogant) people eventually are brought low because they are God’s enemy (Proverbs 6:16-19), but the lowly are wise to allow the Lord to exalt them (James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:6). Wise people do not praise themselves. They let others notice their good qualities (Proverbs 25:27; 27:2). Solomon started off humbly, but he ruined himself through pride and rebellion. As we read his wise words in Proverbs, we should guard against letting success go to our heads because pride always leads to destruction and ruin (Proverbs 16:18).
Wisdom Is More Valuable Than Treasure (Proverbs 16:16)
Most people in the world spend their time chasing financial prosperity and worldly treasure, but they usually end up empty-handed (Proverbs 23:3-5). Wisdom is more valuable than gold, and understanding is worth more than silver (Proverbs 16:16). Solomon did not condemn wealth or working hard to acquire financial security, for he was the wealthiest man in Israel’s history (1 Kings 4:22-28; 10:27). Solomon’s lesson on wisdom and treasures is about priorities. We should be more eager to draw close to God and to acquire wisdom than we are desirous to acquire material possessions. Money will not last, but wisdom from God will last. Wisdom was what God used to create the world, and it is what He uses to govern the world (see Proverbs 8:1-36). If we want to navigate successfully through the world that God created, we should acquire wisdom before we chase gold.
We should study, memorize and apply the Proverbs of Solomon to our daily lives. God gave Solomon wisdom, and he passed it on to us through his inspired writings. Fear God, remain humble and put wisdom before wealth. If we ask God for wisdom, he will give it to us as we study His Word and apply its principles to our lives (James 1:5).
A Tour of the Bible
The Holy Bible consists of 66 books of varied lengths. Its name in English originates from the Greek word, “Biblos,” which means a book or a scroll. Written over a 1500-year span (from circa 1400 B.C to A.D. 100) and across three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe), it was written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic [Chaldee] and Greek). It’s 40 writers record over 10,000 events, and yet it contains no contradictions in its purpose and meaning. The Bible is the most remarkable work ever written.
You will find inside the Old Testament 23,145 verses. Inside the New Testament, there are 7,957 verses, for a total in both testaments of 31,102 verses. There are 783,137 words, 3,116,480 letters, 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. It has 18 history books, 4 Gospel accounts, 5 poetical books, 18 prophetical books and 21 epistles. Its shortest verse in English is John 11:35 (2 words: “Jesus wept”); its longest verse is Esther 8:9 (78 words). It is nothing less than the very mind of God revealed!
You may find in some editions of the Bible the apocryphal books. These are not considered Scripture and are, in some editions, included as a study tool, designed to help us understand what may have happened during the 400-year gap between the testaments. They are not inspired, though some denominations see them as sacred Scripture, which led to many false doctrines. These books should be regarded as being in the same category as The Iliad and The Odyssey or other important cultural literature – worthwhile reading to have a greater understanding of the culture and the history of the near east at the time of Christ’s ministry.
The inspired human writers of the Holy Bible came from very different backgrounds, and yet, God used them to reveal His will to humanity. In 2 Peter 1:21, the apostle declared that “prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Among them, we find kings and prophets, fishermen who became fishers of men, a physician and, arguably, the most famous prince of Egypt.
The first five books consist of the Pentateuch or the books of Moses. Also known as the Torah or the Law, they record the creation of man, the fall and destruction of the old world, the beginning of God’s plan of redemption and the foundation of the nation of Israel. From there, we move into the history books with Joshua and the conquest of the land of promise. The dark years of the Judges come next, followed by the account of the rise of the royal house of David. The Chronicles of the kings tell of the tragedy when God’s people fell away from the pattern established in the Law. The books of the prophets are divided between major and minor (referring to the longer books and shorter works; it would be folly to think of the minor prophets as less important).
In the New Testament, we find the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The exciting Acts of the Apostles follows, and the letters following it enlighten our understanding. The Book of Revelation rounds off the Bible with scenes echoing Eden, in Genesis. God will restore the relationship of man with Him, peace shall reign and the evil one will be defeated forever!
The Bible in book “form” (known as a codex) was championed by early Christians, as it was far more convenient than carrying around 66 scrolls. The familiar chapter division were introduced as a study help in AD 1238 by Hugo de S. Caro, while numbered verses were added in 1551 by printer Robertus Stephanus. Adding chapter and verses did not violate Deuteronomy 4:2, since no Scripture was altered or deleted. They merely act together as a study tool that also appear in many non-sacred ancient works, such as The Iliad, The Odyssey or Virgil and Ovid.
The remarkable innovations [in a good sense] of chapters and verses have helped countless scholars and students over the centuries. [However, to unwary persons, sometimes, the chapter and verse divisions may hinder biblical interpretation by interrupting a context. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Psalm 1:2 says of the blessed man, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Keep the Bible close to your fingertips and never let it be far away. It is the wonder of the world that is not of this world but rather of Heaven itself! Trust it, love it and serve the God of all wisdom Who mercifully and compassionately provided the Bible for our learning. In 2 Timothy 2:15, the apostle Paul encouraged his readers to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Let us enrich our lives by living in that Word!