“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
In the original language of these two proverbs, the words translated WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE overlap in meaning. Together they teach us that reverently honoring our Creator, Provider, and Judge is foundational for the prudence, discretion, and life skill which is often manifest in people with little formal education.
On the other hand, it is also the only starting point on the journey to becoming learned. And no academic institution owns that journey’s many roads – some toll free, all scenic. Whether his field is history, one of the so called natural sciences, or art even a highly “educated” person is ultimately a fool, commonly an arrogant one, without that crucial fear of the LORD. That fool despises sound wisdom and instruction just as God’s infallible and redemptively aimed proverbs predict.