Proverbs 1:7—”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
There are people who loathe wisdom or instruction. The Bible terms them as ‘fools’. These people are not dimwitted or senseless people. They may be learned and intelligent even, but have no true wisdom. They use their proficiency or intelligence to argue against God and His ways; or may argue for themselves, for example, pro atheism or when devoid of true religion. They are self-willed, headstrong, and listen to no advice. They follow their own devices, without regard to reason, or reverence for God. They do not desire the knowledge of God, His ways and worship; but despise and treat it with contempt; especially the knowledge of God in Christ – the highest wisdom – “life eternal”.
‘Fools’ despise Christ “the hidden Wisdom of God”, the Gospel and its truths. They spurn all its “instruction”. They loathe the Scriptures that make a man “wise unto salvation”, the ministry of the Word, and all ministers. They abhor “chastisement”. These include atheists, deists, and all profane and wicked men. Those who seek knowledge in any other spirit, or by any other path, really “despise wisdom and discipline”. They show themselves to be “fools”.
But for a Believer, ‘the fear of the Lord’ doesn’t imply a submissive fear, of punishment, hell, wrath, and damnation. Rather, a familial fear that considers the knowledge of God as a Father, of His love and grace in Christ, and particularly of His forgiving love from where our ‘fear’ arises. It is a holy, humble, affection, and devotion to God, including worship. It is our reverence to a sovereign and faithful God, and obedience to God. When we understand or comprehend this fear, it is just the beginning of the road to knowledge, the foundation and source of knowledge. All wisdom not founded in religion, in the true and genuine fear of God, is empty and unprofitable and will surface in the time of affliction, in the hour of death, and at the day of judgment. Unless a man knows God, knows God in Christ, and worships Him in reverence, in spirit and in truth, according to His revealed will, he knows nothing as he ought. This fear is the chief thing in evangelical knowledge without which all natural knowledge will signify nothing.