King Solomon wrote in Proverbs about seven pillars of wisdom. “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out her seven pillars” (Proverbs 9:1). None of these seven pillars are identified immediately in the passage. Many people find a list of seven things elsewhere in the Bible and claim that list describes these seven pillars. However, their approach is unlikely, because there is no direct connection to wisdom. Elsewhere in the book of Proverbs, Solomon identifies seven things that bring forth wisdom. This post identifies these seven contributors to wisdom from Solomon as the seven pillars of wisdom.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7a NKJ). Mere head knowledge is not godly wisdom as described by the word of God. Instead, godly wisdom is the truth revealed through the word of God. It rests in the heart of those with understanding (Proverbs 14:33). Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom and not for wealth (2 Chronicles 1:10-12). The Lord gave him wisdom to judge the people, but he also gave him wealth. “So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom” (2 Chronicles 9:22). Thus it is worthwhile to study what Solomon wrote about wisdom in Proverbs. As the Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, he will give wisdom to all those who ask him for it. The seven pillars of wisdom are addressed below in the order they are presented in the book of Proverbs.
1. Tree of Life
Wisdom is synonymous with the tree of life, Jesus. “Wisdom … is a tree of life to those who take hold of her” (Proverbs 3:13-18). Jesus is the source of life and believers are described as branches grafted in and connected to Jesus. He came from heaven to earth to give everlasting life to those who believe. God made Christ Jesus our wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30 AMP). Accepting Jesus as savior connects a person to godly wisdom.
2 Fear of the Lord
The reverent fear of the Lord opens a door to the realm of wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). The New Living Translation states that it is the foundation of wisdom, making it a sure pillar. “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33). This fear involves respect for the Lord and obedience to him rather than being afraid of him.
Those who think they already know something resist more instruction about it, but a humble person can receive instruction and become wiser. “When pride comes then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). True humility recognizes the need for wisdom from above.
Wisdom comes from godly counsel. “Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel” (Proverbs 13:10). Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit as the Counselor who would lead believers into all truth and wisdom (John 14:26 and 15:26 AMP). Those who listen to the counsel of the Holy Spirit will prosper. They will have their needs and wants met by the Lord. The more the Holy Spirit is allowed to move and to flow through a person the more he/she will increase.
5. Presence of God
Godly wisdom abounds in the presence of the heavenly father, his Son and his Spirit. “Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding” (Proverbs 17:24). Building a strong relationship with God prepares a person to experience him on a continual basis. A strong relationship with God comes from studying the word of God, prayer, fasting, praise, thanksgiving, worship, etc. Give him time to speak to you, and always be sensitive to his voice and his leading. Lay aside everything that would hinder your relationship with God, and keep focused on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). As you draw near to God, he will draw near to you (James 4:8). Experiencing God can become your way of life.
The heavenly Father has a process whereby young, immature sons mature into responsible sons with great authority. The Father loves his sons, and therefore he nurtures, instructs and trains them as sons (Ephesians 6:4). Solomon connected discipline to wisdom. “The rod and reproof give wisdom” (Proverbs 29:15). The Lord disciplines his sons by his Spirit and his word (Hebrews 12:5 7). Discipline is not punishment, sickness or disease. A son changes the direction in which his life is going by encountering the goodness of God. It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). Discipline brings a renewal of the mind so that the thought processes are more like those of the heavenly Father. The carnal mind or natural way of thinking must be changed for sons to mature and walk in wisdom.
The final pillar of wisdom identified by Solomon is kindness. “She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). A person who has been taught kindness can show and teach kindness. Kindness is portrayed as God’s forgiveness. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Believers can show the same kindness as God. Being kind and forgiving those who mistreat you is the way of wisdom.
Wisdom gives believers hope and a future that are consistent with God’s purpose (Proverbs 24:14). In Proverbs, Solomon explained a support system of seven pillars for godly wisdom. These pillars are meant to carry the load equally. If any of the pillars are missing or broken, the whole support system is adversely affected. This post explains the seven pillars to help believers be firmly established in godly wisdom.