A Proverb for Fundamentalists
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)
Many have suggested, and I don’t disagree, that a good definition of wisdom is the proper application of God’s Word to each aspect of human life. Normally, when wisdom is described, it is at the top of a cognitive pyramid which has a foundation of knowledge, then understanding, and finally wisdom. You must have knowledge before you can comprehend or understand and only after comprehension can you have wisdom.
I have often wondered about this proverb. Why is it presented in this order? I propose that it is instruction for fundamentalists. (As an aside, this part of fundamentalist thinking is not new.)
In my experience, fundamentalists frequently have done a good job of applying God’s Word to each aspect of life. They taught and displayed wisdom. But I believe that with all their getting, they neglected understanding. Now we have a generation of young fundamentalists that have abandoned Scriptural wisdom because their fathers did not give them understanding (maybe they didn’t understand themselves). It is imperative that we teach knowledge and understanding to our children along with the wisdom (application) we give them. In the end, they must be able to apply knowledge and understanding to life themselves.