What does Proverbs 3:13 mean?
ESV: Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,
NIV: Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
NASB: Blessed is a person who finds wisdom, And one who obtains understanding.
CSB: Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding,
NLT: Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.
KJV: Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
In this verse Solomon describes the one who finds wisdom as "blessed." The word "blessed" means happy. Psalm 1:1 identifies the "blessed" [happy] person as the one who rejects the lifestyle of the wicked but delights in God's Word.
In His sermon on the Mount, Jesus identified the blessed as the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, and those who are reviled falsely for His sake (Matthew 5:2–11).
Solomon describes wisdom and understanding in Proverbs, but does not explicitly supply definitions. As used across the text, however, wisdom is the ability to act according to accurate knowledge. Understanding, in Proverbs, is insight or intelligence—the ability to know something well enough to pass its value along to others. The acquisition of both wisdom and understanding produces happiness. Believers find life's greatest happiness in knowing and doing God's will and having the insight to determine how they should respond to a godless culture.
Proverbs 3:13–26 extols the virtue of wisdom. Solomon began this discussion in chapter 1, and explained in chapter 2 that the Lord gives wisdom to the upright. Now he describes as blessed the person who finds wisdom, and explains its benefits and applications. Wisdom, as used in this book, refers to the ability to apply godly knowledge. While not a guarantee someone will act accordingly, having a grasp of God's intent for our lives is immensely valuable.
This chapter of Proverbs is addressed to Solomon's son. The term, ''my son'' occurs 15 times in chapters 1—7. The words may apply to one of Solomon's students in his court or to one of his biological sons. The application of wisdom in Proverbs 3 shows the benefits of trusting in the Lord with one's whole heart. Solomon credits obedience to and trust in God for longevity, success, guidance, health, reward that exceeds monetary wealth, enjoyment, peace, security, confidence, excellent human relationships, the Lord's blessing and favor, and honor. As with all ''proverbs,'' biblical or otherwise, their purpose is to impart general wisdom, not absolute prophecy. Like the original audience, modern readers are not expected to see these guidelines as absolute guarantees for any one person.
This passage lies in the second section of the book, found in chapters 1—9. The author, King Solomon, reigned over Israel from 971 to 931 BC. The first section of Proverbs, the preface, is found in Proverbs 1:1–7. The third section, chapters 10—22, were also written by Solomon. These proverbs were likely written by Solomon in his middle years, whereas he probably wrote Song of Songs in his early adulthood, and Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. As in the first two chapters, wisdom is stressed in Proverbs 3.
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
Accessed 3/1/2024 2:26:37 AM
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