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Your Questions Answered

Q. What are the seven pillars of wisdom, spoken of in Proverbs?

A. This term occurs in Proverbs Chapter 9, which begins: “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars” (Proverbs 9:1).

The Book of Proverbs is considered one of the five “Wisdom Books” of the Old Testament. The other four are Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Wisdom is much discussed in Proverbs but later in Proverbs 9, the author gives us the foundation of this house of wisdom: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Fear in this case is not being afraid, but rather being in awe of who God is, and in so doing, having the proper reverential awe and respect that goes along with it. This is the very basis of true wisdom. As Christians, we realize that our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is an integral part of that wisdom foundation: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Cor. 3:11).

The specific seven pillars of wisdom are given to us in the only book in the New Testament considered a “Wisdom Book,” the Book of James. James says: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

Notice that purity is the first and foremost of these seven pillars. It is the basis for us as followers of God to endeavor to be like Him. In the giving of the Mosaic Law, God told the children of Israel, “ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). As an outgrowth of purity and holiness, there will be the other pillars of wisdom that James mentioned. They will provide us with the wisdom we need in a world where that commodity is so sorely lacking in these days.

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