Proverbs 2:2

ESV making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;
NIV turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding--
NASB Make your ear attentive to wisdom; Incline your heart to understanding.
CSB listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding;
NLT Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.
KJV So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

What does Proverbs 2:2 mean?

In the book of Proverbs, learning is the short-term gain of information, which becomes knowledge when it is remembered and kept for later use. Wisdom is used in reference to the good and appropriate application of knowledge. Understanding is a comprehensive wisdom which can be passed along to others. Merely taking in and retaining information is not meant to be the end of our process.

Acquiring knowledge, especially the knowledge of God's commands, is a good and noble pursuit. However, living virtuously requires the application of that knowledge to our lives. Matthew 13:45–46 is another of Jesus' analogies of heaven. In that parable, a merchant was looking for valuable pearls. Such a businessman must first know how to identify good pearls from bad, and rank their worth.

This begins to sketch out our connection between virtuous living and discernment. Applying knowledge wisely requires deliberate effort—"making your ear attentive" and "inclining your heart." Those who purposefully pursue virtuous living, by seeking wisdom and understanding, develop the quality of discernment. The merchant in Jesus' parable did not invest everything in the very first pearl he encountered. Rather, the man used discernment—a practiced ability to distinguish good from bad—and when he found a pearl of incredible value, he sold all he had to obtain it. Rather than investing his life in something of mediocre quality, discernment allowed the man to make the most of his resources.

In the same way, discernment allows a person to separate profound wisdom from information which is of less value.
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