Proverbs 2:3

ESV yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
NIV indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
NASB For if you cry out for insight, And raise your voice for understanding;
CSB furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding,
NLT Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
KJV Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

What does Proverbs 2:3 mean?

The mastery of knowledge, including the ability to pass that knowledge along, is what the book of Proverbs calls understanding. Understanding is the culmination of the learning process, and can only be accomplished after knowledge is retained and applied wisely.

According to this passage, then, part of virtuous living is seeking the ability to pass on knowledge to the next generation. This verse is Solomon's second "if" statement. The metaphor of calling out, raising one's voice, implies someone who is present to hear you. There are two sides to this effort: the person "calls out" in their effort to seek insight, and the information they receive is ultimately beneficial to others. The long-term goal is to bring others up in discernment and understanding.

Again, we see parallels to this idea in the parables of Jesus. Matthew 13:47–50 contains an example of fish, caught in a net, and then sorted into good and bad. This can only be done through discernment, by one who has mastered a certain level of skill in his profession. In the same way, knowledge needs to be sorted, according to practiced discernment, in order to succeed in virtuous living.
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