Let the wise listen and add to their learning. Proverbs 1:5
When asked how he became a journalist, a man shared the story of his mother’s dedication to his pursuit of education. While traveling on the subway each day, she collected newspapers left behind on seats and gave them to him. While he especially enjoyed reading about sports, the papers also introduced him to knowledge about the world, which ultimately opened his mind to a vast range of interests.
Children are wired with natural curiosity and a love for learning, so introducing them to the Scriptures at an early age is of great value. They become intrigued by God’s extraordinary promises and exciting stories of biblical heroes. As their knowledge deepens, they can begin to comprehend the consequences of sin, their need of repentance, and the joy found in trusting God. The first chapter of Proverbs, for instance, is a great introduction to the benefits of wisdom (Proverbs 1:1–7). Nuggets of wisdom found here shine a light of understanding on real-life situations.
Developing a love of learning—especially about spiritual truths—helps us to grow stronger in our faith. And those who have walked in faith for decades can continue to pursue knowledge of God throughout their life. Proverbs 1:5 advises, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” God will never stop teaching us if we’re willing to open our heart and mind to His guidance and instruction.
What fresh truth of Scripture have you added to your knowledge recently? How can you continually pursue a deeper understanding of God’s truth?
Father, please continue to open my mind and heart to grow in knowledge and wisdom as I read from the Scriptures.
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A prominent characteristic of Hebrew poetry is parallelism. A second line either mirrors the first or contrasts it. In the case of Proverbs 1:5, the second line mirrors and develops the idea introduced in the first, which is called “synthetic” parallelism.
The first line of the couplet, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning,” says wisdom isn’t a once-and-done endeavor. The wise can always learn more. But the second line develops the idea further: “and let the discerning get guidance.” The word for “guidance” comes from the nautical world where shipmen would pull on ropes to steer a boat. In context, “guidance” has the sense of practical steering through life. The parallelism in the proverb highlights that continual learning is important, but also that it should lead to steering a better course through the waters of our lives.