Proverbs 8–9: Wisdom & Godliness

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 27: Thursday

Listen, for I will speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.
For my mouth will utter truth;
And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.

Proverbs 8:6–8

Thursday’s Bible reading is Proverbs 8–9. In these chapters wisdom is personified, but they do not teach the existence of a goddess named Sophia, a deity asserted by Gnosticism. (The Greek word for wisdom is σοφία, i.e., sophia, but remember the Old Testament was written in Hebrew with some Aramaic. See Gnosticism in the Mainline by Dr. Peter Jones for further discussion of this heresy.) Louis Goldberg writes:

“That Wisdom is personified by a woman in Prov 1–9 is partly explained by the fact that the noun is feminine. There the Lady Wisdom is contrasted with the woman Folly who is personified sin [look at the description in Proverbs 7:10–27 of folly, who is there called a harlot]. Note the studied contrast of Proverbs 9:4–6 and 9:16–18. This personification of wisdom is not found outside these chapters.1

I quoted Proverbs 8:6–8 in my opening verses because I noticed that wisdom speaks truth and righteousness—never wickedness or perversion. To be truly wise is to be godly because:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10

In the New Testament, James also connects wisdom with godliness, and contrasts it with an earthly, demonic wisdom that in reality is not true wisdom at all.

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
James 3:13–18

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Dr. Peter Jones, Gnosticism in the Mainline, truthXchange, May 7, 2008.
1Louis Goldberg, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L.
Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, eds., 1980, vol. I, p. 283.
Apple tree in full blossom, North Ayrshire, Scotland: Roger Griffith, Public Domain.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

One thought on “Proverbs 8–9: Wisdom & Godliness

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