"The beginning of wisdom"

HOW many of us in the early study of Christian Science have been puzzled by the apparently disquieting statement in the ninth chapter of Proverbs, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"? Are we really to fear the Lord—the Lord whom we are just beginning to love and trust and to understand as that perfect Love which casteth out fear? Our dawning understanding seems to rebel against it. Taken literally, such a statement is inconsistent and contradictory, and so we must search for its inner meaning.

Solomon was probably the first to utter these words. The quotation also occurs in the one hundred and eleventh psalm, but this psalm is generally attributed to a much later period than David, and so the author was probably simply quoting Solomon's own words. However that may be, we are justified in taking for granted that he who "was wiser than all men" should be able to guide our footsteps into the path of wisdom; and the first step, he says, is to fear the Lord. The divine wisdom with which he was so richly endowed, however, had guided him to explain his meaning before making this statement, for in the previous chapter we have his explanation in the clearest possible terms. Wisdom herself is supposed to be speaking, calling upon all to hear the truth, and comparing the joys of real knowledge with worldly wisdom. In the thirteenth verse she proclaims, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." Thus we may now read, To hate evil is the beginning of wisdom! What a simple explanation, and what a mist is thereby cleared away!

"Be ye therefore perfect"
May 28, 1921

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.