The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Fear of the Lord
FEAR OF THE LORD
Where Knowledge Begins
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
The most important word in this verse is beginning. It has three meanings: (1) that which is first in order of priorities; (2) the essence or central truth of something; (3) the capstone, or the crowning achievement, of something. What is the fear of the Lord? It is not cringing in terror. It is respecting God for who He is. It is understanding that God is God and you are not. Those who fear the Lord bow their knees before almighty God and acknowledge that He made the world and runs it according to His plan. Respect for God is where knowledge begins, where knowledge continues, and where all knowledge ends.
Let’s consider three implications of this truth. First, the road of wisdom leads to a temple, not to a palace. It leads back to God. If your learning leads you away from God, you’re learning the wrong things. If your learning leads you toward greater independence from God and His Word, you have been studying at the feet of the wrong teachers. All true learning begins with the understanding that there is a God to whom all of us must one day give an account.
Second, all education that leaves God out omits the central principle of the universe. Suppose a high school teacher stood up on the first day of class and said, “Because I am a Christian, I am going to teach you from the standpoint of the Christian faith. I am going to let my Christian faith influence all of my instruction. I am going to be up front about it. You don’t have to believe what I believe, but I am not going to hide my Christian faith. Everything I teach you-whether it’s math or geography or algebra or English or world history-will start from the standpoint of the Christian faith because I believe that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” How long would that teacher last? Yet any education that doesn’t begin precisely at that point can hardly be called education at all, for the fear of the Lord is the foundation of all true learning.
Third, education without God produces intellectual giants and moral pygmies. Chuck Colson is right. When you take God away from the educational system, what you get is chaos. No crime bill, no educational bill, no bureaucratic solution can solve that problem until we come back to what God said three thousand years ago: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” If you have four advanced degrees but don’t have the fear of the Lord, you would be better off as an uneducated reader of the Bible who at least believes in God. I am in favor of education that bows the knee to Jesus Christ. If you have to make a choice, choose the fear of the Lord, for without it you’re still in spiritual kindergarten.
Spirit of Truth, help me to know God so that through Him I might understand the universe He created. Amen.
Do you “fear the Lord"? What does that phrase mean to you?
How can Christian students and faculty members take their faith with them into the public school system?
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