The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” (Proverbs 9:1)

The foundation of the house of wisdom is “the fear of the LORD. . . the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). One does not finally reach the Lord through much study and the acquisition of much wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the very “beginning of wisdom.” Without a reverent trust in the God of creation and redemption, there can be no true wisdom. “For other foundation can no man lay than . . . Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Then, erected upon this foundation and supporting all the superstructure of the “house of wisdom” are seven mighty pillars or columns. But what are these? The answer seems to be found in that New Testament book of wisdom, the book of James, where it is said that “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). Then, “a wise man and endued with knowledge . . . [will] show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

Finally, the seven great pillars seem to be listed in James 3:17: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” The first in the list or central column, carrying more weight than any of the other columns in the structure, is purity. Then there are six outside pillars. One is peaceableness; the next is gentleness; then comes reasonableness (“easy to be entreated”). The next phrase, “full of mercy and good fruits,” connotes helpfulness. The term for “without partiality” actually means humility, and then the final pillar is sincerity.

Thus, a life of genuine wisdom is a life founded upon the fear of the Lord and supported by genuine purity, peaceableness, gentleness, reasonableness, helpfulness, humility, and sincerity. Such a house will never fall! HMM

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