Proverbs 4:7

Proverbs 4:7 "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."
Baptist Church Buffalo NY
We have arrived at my favorite verse in the book of Proverbs and in all of the Holy Scriptures.  It is the use of the word, “principal” that makes this verse stand out among all other verses in the book.  This is the only verse where Solomon used the word, “principal” in any of his Biblical writings.  There are other instances in which this word is used throughout the Bible and in case someone didn’t know the pure meaning of the word, these other references would define it for them.  For example, Zabud is referred to as theprincipal officer” in 1 Kings 4:5 while shepherds, or priests are called the principal of the flock” in Jeremiah 25:34.  In 2 Kings 25:19, a principal scribe” is mentioned while leaders of a city are called the principal men of the city” in Acts 25:23.  All of these references would clearly infer that the word, “principal” suggests CHIEF IMPORTANCE.  This is why Paul the Apostle often called people in authority, “principalities” as he did in Romans 8:38.  Today, the most important leader in a school is typically called the “Principal.”  

For Solomon to declare wisdom the “principal thing,” he was declaring it the most important virtue, the most excellent of moral possessions and the chief quality available to mankind.  Nowhere in the Bible is any other virtue declared the “principal thing.”  Nowhere in Scripture is any other quality declared the most important.  Nowhere in God’s word is any other attribute declared more excellent than all others.  Yes, there are places where virtues are compared to other virtues with a concluding rank as in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”  Indeed, charity is one of the most highly ranked virtues but it is not the principal virtue.  Compared to the virtues of faith and hope, charity is greater but it is not the greatest virtue.  Charity is a primary virtue but it is not the principal virtue.  Charity is an excellent quality but it is not the principal quality.

Wisdom is the PRINCIPAL thing.

Love is an excellent virtue but wisdom is the most excellent virtue.  Without wisdom, we can’t understand how excellent love is.  Without wisdom, we won’t know how to exercise love, especially with our enemies.

Joy is an important quality but wisdom is the most important quality.  Without wisdom, we can’t appreciate how important joy is within our hearts.  Without wisdom, we won’t know how to experience joy, especially when life’s circumstances are unpleasant and uneasy.

Peace is a valuable possession but wisdom is the most valuable possession.  Without wisdom, we can’t grasp how valuable peace is to our souls.  Without wisdom, we can’t know how to embrace peace, especially when we’re submerged in turbulence and trauma.

Gratitude is a necessary attribute but wisdom is the most necessary attribute.  Without wisdom, we can’t grasp how necessary gratitude is to our lives.  Without wisdom, we won’t know how to be thankful, especially when life gets difficult.  

Wisdom is the PRINCIPAL thing.

Wisdom is the building block for all other virtues.  It is the chief cornerstone on which all other attributes are laid.  Without it, nothing will stick.  Without it, nothing will last.

Rehoboam’s father wanted him to prioritize his pursuits by starting with wisdom.  With all of the training, grooming and heavy expectations, Solomon wanted his heir to realize the priority of wisdom.  There were things Rehoboam could afford to live without but wisdom was not one of them.  There were things in his training he could afford to forget but wisdom was not one of them.  There were things in his future that he could afford to miss out on but wisdom was not one of them.  Nothing in life is more important than wisdom.

Fools miss out on salvation because they lack the wisdom necessary to see themselves as sinners in need of the Savior.  Consider the wording of 2 Timothy 3:15 when Paul wrote to his son in the faith, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee WISE unto SALVATION through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  Fools miss out on faith because they lack the wisdom necessary to understand the nature of faith.  Fools miss out on long-lasting relationships that bring pleasure because they lack the wisdom necessary to understand human dynamics.  Fools miss out on the meaning of life because they lack the wisdom necessary to answer all of the fundamental questions regarding their very existence.  
Without wisdom, reason is unreasonable.  
Without wisdom, sanity is insanity.  

Wisdom is the principal thing; THEREFORE GET WISDOM.

Of all the things we can pursue in life, let us pursue the PRINCIPAL thing.  Of all the things we can afford to live without, the PRINCIPAL thing is not of them.  Pursue an education but don’t pursue it at the expense of wisdom.  Without wisdom, an education will lack purpose.  Pursue romantic relationships, friendships and partnerships but don’t pursue them at the expense of wisdom.  Without wisdom, relationships will lack longevity.  Pursue a career and economic stability but don’t pursue it at the expense of wisdom.  Without wisdom, that economic stability will lack satisfaction.  There isn’t a hobby in this world that ranks anywhere close to the PRINCIPAL thing of Proverbs 4:7.  There isn’t an intellectual ability or an athletic skill that ranks anywhere close to the PRINCIPAL thing of the Bible.  There isn’t a career that ranks anywhere close to the PRINCIPAL thing of Scripture.  


What are you spending your time getting?
What are you spending your money getting?
You can’t afford to live without the PRINCIPAL THING.

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