The Beginning of Knowledge

By Ron Graham

 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7.  


Do you fear the Lord? No? Then perhaps the second part of the verse above refers to you. It is foolish to ignore God’s truth, as Solomon plainly states above. The question begs to be asked; why do so many people refuse to listen to the truth of the scriptures? I believe the answer can be found in the very lifestyles of those who reject God. Plainly stated there are those who enjoy the sinful lifestyle they live so much that they will not heed or even hear God’s warning. Having said that, should we born again believers ignore those people because we know they won’t listen to our message? No. You see it’s not us who convinces the lost of their current condition, that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. We are the messenger of the truth, He does the convicting. It’s not up to us to decide who to witness to but to witness every time we know God is telling us to. Then it’s up to the individual to choose God over Satan, but I digress.


Fearing God is a term that has gotten some bad press. I’ve heard people say “I’ll never fear some god”, and then there’s this guy “I don’t want a god that expects me to fear him”. People who say these things clearly have no understanding of what the word fear is referring to in this context. To fear the Lord is to revere Him, to admire Him, to respect Him, to esteem Him, to hold Him in the highest regard, to be in awe of Him continually. He is worthy of our worship and our praise, and Him only. In the Hebrew, when used in the context of fearing God, we see its meaning as a respect, reverence, piety. In the Greek when used in this context, we see the meaning as to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential, even obedience to.    


There is a difference between fear and being afraid. Jesus tells us that there is a time to be afraid of God “Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him,” Luke 12:5. Over and over again we’re told in the scriptures “fear not”, but here in the book of Luke we’re actually told to be afraid of what God can do. Every day of our lives God intervenes to supply all our needs. Seemingly in certain instances God appears to be absent. This is not the case, at least not while we have breath in our bodies. The only time God will pull His presence from us is when we’ve condemned ourselves to Hell through our unbelief. Imagine you’ve lived your whole life without ever acknowledging God. God respects your decision of independence and when you die in that state, you will, in all actuality, be independent of God.


“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, Deuteronomy 10:12. The Israelites were admonished to fear the Lord and walk in His ways, to love Him. We, as born again believers are to do the same.


Side note:

As we witness to those who are lost, we should be able to supply some of the underlying meanings of the original Hebrew and Greek words that make up the Bible, the word fear being just one of them. We don’t need to be Greek or Hebrew scholars to accomplish this task. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible will suffice. Many preconceived meanings as well as misinterpretations can be dispelled using these reference books. The internet also has a vast amount of resources which are free and always available for us to access at our leisure. Knowledge of the original language in which the scriptures were written, and having access to their definitions as well as pronunciation can be a tremendous help in teaching as well as witnessing.


Read what Solomon has to say about the sinner and how God reacts to those who fear Him “Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his [days] be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God…” Ecclesiastes 8:12. To fear God is a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible. We’re all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. When Solomon penned this verse above he knew even though we’re all evil sinners God will still love us and allow His grace to fall on us abundantly because we fear Him.


Fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. A starting point if you will. It has been said that diligent study brings forth an abundance of knowledge. We’ll never receive the knowledge God wants us to aspire to by sitting in Church listing to our pastors. Question: How many of you can remember last weeks sermon? Ask your pastor and he’ll tell you that you must be diligent in studying your Bibles if you are to gain that special God blessed knowledge that dwells within His word. Sunday morning sermons have their place, but studying our Bibles is the epitome of knowledge gained.


Secular humanists say knowledge is power, but I say the knowledge of the word of God is better than power. This knowledge is wisdom. Wisdom that comes to us from Gods inerrant word is much more precious than diamonds, gold, or silver. The knowledge of the Lord which only comes through diligent study of His word brings lasting benefits as well as rewards. I’m not speaking of earthly, tangible here and now rewards, but that which is being stored up for us in Heaven. The ultimate wisdom and knowledge is to store up in Heaven what we can’t take with us when we leave this earth. When we acquire the knowledge God has put forth for us, only then are we truly wealthy. Even the richest man on earth having not the knowledge of God’s word is as a pauper. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26.


Do you envy wealthy people, or people who you perceive to have an abundance of knowledge? Take comfort in the fact that even though you may not have money to burn, or the knowledge of the world, God supplies your needs, and the knowledge of God transcends all dimensions. Nothing, of this world nor any human being in this world can give an appropriate explanation of what’s waiting in Heaven for each of us who fear God. Heaven’s wealth is beyond what our imaginations are capable of conjuring up. But if I may, I’d like to insert some conjecture here. To me Heaven will be so far removed from what we’ve grown accustomed to here on earth, that when we arrive there we will completely forget even the best of what we had on earth, especially all earthly humanistic knowledge we had acquired.


Knowledge is wisdom, and wisdom can be converted into intelligence; we who have accepted God’s only begotten Son as our personal Lord and Savior obviously have an abundance of wisdom. Only a truly wise person makes a decision about their future that will bring an eternity of rewards. There’s an old adage that states “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.” Knowing Jesus as Lord, as savior, as redeemer, as God Almighty is the embodiment of wisdom and knowledge.


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. The more we allow ourselves to become His property, the more He will increase our knowledge. God is continually working on us, molding us into the image of His Son. On the last day of our earthly existence, as we close our eyes for the last time and immediately stand in His presence, comes the finality of our sanctification and the ultimate in knowledge.


There is another kind of knowledge spoken of in the scriptures. In the book of Daniel we read: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased…” Daniel 12:4. Some Bible teachers claim this knowledge is a more intense knowledge of the Lord. Personally, I believe this is humanistic knowledge that’s spoken of here. Knowledge attributed to man not God. This is the knowledge that most men and women actually aspire to. Even with all the humanistic knowledge in the world we won’t have any added awareness of who God is. No, this kind of knowledge spoken of here by the angel in the book of Daniel will provide humans with a complete sense of false security. It’s the knowledge Satan wants you to take hold of to the exclusion of all else, so you will completely remove your eyes from Him who can save you. This satanic knowledge of humanistic intent is contrary to God; only doubt or a complete rejection of God altogether will result from the increase of the humanistic knowledge spoken of above. We can only continue to gain knowledge of God by studying His word.


Know that your reading this commentary is no accident. If you’ve never made the decision to ask Jesus Christ into your life, this is the hour of your salvation. You’ve been guided here by the Holy Spirit, and you’re being nudged to take the next step. It’s a nudge that you can’t explain. Be assured of what it’s not. The nudging you’re feeling is not a burning in the bosom nor is it a voice speaking to you about all the different roads that lead to God. On the contrary, that would be the voice of the deceiver. 


Jesus is standing at the door and knocking, and if you’ll open the door and let Him in, He’ll come in and sup with you.


This commentary might just be the vehicle that brings you to God. It’s certainly a witness of God’s awesome power, grace, and mercy. Why is that? I am glad you asked, because the author of this commentary was at one time just like you, running from God, not interested in anything God had to offer. Then one day, God put a born again believer in his path to be a witness to him. The Holy Spirit convicted him of his need for a savior, and suddenly a change came over him and he no longer fought God’s nudging. You have the same opportunity right now as I had way back when I was converted. If you’d like to become a living example of what God can do to change a person’s eternal destination, then read the following words and say them from your heart.


Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe You died on that cross for me. I’m so sorry for all my sins and for ignoring you for so long. I ask you now to come into my life and save me from that eternal damnation, change me and deliver me from all evil. I ask this prayer in your name. Amen.


If you prayed that simple prayer and meant it, you are now a part of the family of God. You’re now justified in God’s eyes and He now sees you through Jesus Christ His Son. Now your walk begins and God will continue to sanctify you right up until the day you die.


I urge you to seek out a Bible believing, Christ centered Church, where you can receive brotherly support, and start studying your Bible. You will, at some point, need to be baptized to be fully in God’s will. Remember this baptism is an outward sign of an inward faith. It has absolutely nothing to do with your salvation. If you repeated the prayer above from your heart you are saved. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.


You have now embarked on a journey where the beginning of knowledge has created in you a healthy fear of God.


God bless you all,


Ron Graham