Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5
It has become sadly “normal” to attack not only the opinions of others but also the person holding the opinion. This can be true in academic circles as well. For this reason, I was stunned when scholar and theologian Richard B. Hays wrote a paper that forcefully took to task a work that he himself had written years earlier! In Reading with the Grain of Scripture, Hays demonstrated great humility of heart as he corrected his own past thinking, now fine-tuned by his lifelong commitment to learning.
As the book of Proverbs was being introduced, King Solomon listed the various intents of this collection of wise sayings. But in the midst of those purposes, he inserted this challenge, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5). Like the apostle Paul, who claimed that, even after following Christ for decades, he continued to pursue knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:10), Solomon urged the wise to listen, to learn, and to continue to grow.
No one is ever hurt by maintaining a teachable spirit. As we seek to continue to grow and learn about the things of faith (and the things of life), may we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth (John 16:13), that we might better comprehend the wonders of our good and great God.
In what areas of life or spiritual growth have you become stale or stunted? How can you become more teachable, allowing God to grow you beyond where you are at this moment?
Loving God, give me a humble, teachable spirit that I might continually be growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
For further study, see Why Read the Bible?.
Solomon, the wisest person in the ancient world, wrote three thousand proverbs (1 Kings 4:30–34), but only a fraction of these were collated into the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Solomon’s wisdom was God’s gift to him (1 Kings 3:5–13). But being wise one day is no guarantee that you’ll be wise the next, for this wisdom can be easily abandoned and lost—as Solomon abandoned God’s wisdom in his later years. He became the classic example of foolishness as he turned from Him to follow idols (11:4–6). Ironically, he ignored his own warning: “If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27 nlt), for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7).