Proverbs 1

The Beginning of Knowledge

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

For some time I’ve been wanting to write about the various Proverbs. I remember reading them when I was a young woman, and while I thought the concepts seemed wise, I didn’t always understand them. It’s my intent to explore Proverbs and give a modern account of what I believe is their meaning, in a way that I hope can be interpreted in today’s world.

When I think of this first Proverb, I think of my journey as a writer. I knew I wanted to write. The will was there. Or at least I wanted to have written. I learned what a big difference there is between the two. I realized that I would have to practice discipline, follow instruction and work harder than I ever had before in order to become an experienced and knowledgeable author.

To learn the ins and outs of good writing, I had to make sacrifices to get there. I gave up magazine grazing. I stopped watching TV. I devoted my spare time to the study of excellent writing and how to improve. There were also things I would never give up, such as my wonderful husband and family, reading, and time spent in prayer. 

We all have weaknesses, and I wish I could say I conquered mine, but I can’t. However, through study, discipline and perseverance, I learned how to overcome many of my story weak areas. I studied plotting. I studied dialogue. I studied narrative. I studied structure. I studied comedy. I studied grammar. Other authors and I traded tips and ideas on good writing. I devoted more hours than I can count to improving. The payoff was when I sold my first stories to a magazine, and shortly after, my first novel to an established book publisher. But the learning didn’t stop there over twenty years ago, and it hasn’t stopped now.

Alternatively, back in the day I knew a young man who, like me, wanted to have written. But he didn’t want to practice or study or work hard at it. He had a natural talent for writing, but he never polished it, because it mostly came easily to him. And, because he hated the idea of working to improve, he didn’t. He never sold a book or an article. I think this was foolish of him, because I suspect his raw talent was far better than my own, and he could have easily become a highly respected author with the least amount study. He wouldn’t have needed to work as hard as me in order to further develop his base talent.

This Proverb addresses exactly the same issues, but it’s the path of knowledge and wisdom in relation to the Lord. In Hebrew, the word “instruction” means discipline. So, the hundreds of hours of lectures I attended, the endless hours of writing and rewriting, the countless hours of private study I devoted to writing produced in me, I believe, both knowledge and wisdom when it came to forming stories and articles—to the point where I’m able to share what I’ve gleaned with other writers, which is a huge joy.

Similarly, prayer, attending church, going to seminars and workshops on the Word, reading the Bible and supplemental materials, discussions with other Christians, all contribute to gaining both knowledge and wisdom. The fool, no matter how blessed by the Lord, won’t be willing to devote the hours and hard study required.

We all strive to be closer to the Lord, but not everyone is willing to make the sacrifices to get there. For some of us, the sacrifice is smaller than for others. Dedicating myself to learning what our Heavenly Father expects from us and desires for us brings me great personal happiness. Doing anything less would be foolish. The good Lord gives us all the tools we need to become wise in faith and strengthen our personal relationship with Him. By using these tools, we will find enormous, uplifting joy and the blessings are eternal.

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Kathy Carmichael is the USA Today bestselling author of romantic comedy, cozy mystery novels and Christian Non-fiction books. Her newest book, a Christian Romantic Suspense is a new release. The Patronis part of the Philanthropists Series, featuring stories by six award-winning and bestselling authors.

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