The Beginning of Wisdom

I’ve heard this before, but I found it particularly interesting that today I found it in a 4th century monastic rule by one of the guys that, more or less, defined the concept of Trinity for the church for the next 17 centuries.  It wasn’t a new idea at all.  It’s really quite old.

Basil of Caesarea’s Longer Rule presents an interesting direction for growth.  He quotes Proverbs, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom,” (Proverbs 9:10) and notes that fear may be a good motivator for novice monks.  If you think about what you’re like as a really young kid, you obey the rules in large part because you’re afraid of what happens if you don’t (perhaps with a thirst for reward if you do good thrown in).  But Basil focuses on the word, “beginning”.  The fear of the Lord is where wisdom may start, but it is not its end.  If our relationship with our parents goes well, we don’t do what they say because we’re afraid of them, but rather because we love them.  Love becomes the motivation for what is good and bad.

Likewise, we grow in wisdom first when we fear God, but that is only the beginning as our love for Him grows.  The love of God is the continuance of wisdom.

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2 responses

  1. mike

    …good post and interesting to ponder ..whats disturbing to me however is the lack of respect/reverance/humility and sense of awe in which we hold God in our hearts..Our attitudes toward God have changed albeit drastically since the first christians bowed in prayer before The Creator..nowdays we are being taught a casual familiarity with God almost as if He were lucky to have us on His side…my spiritual awakening began in ernest 4 years ago when i threw-out..so to speak..everything i had been told to believe about God and started over with only the 12 steps of A.A. and a grateful sincere heart…

    February 22, 2011 at 6:15 am

    • True, the casual attitude of American culture does tend to diminish the more transcendent qualities of God, and we would do well to cultivate a sense of awe, but I don’t think love and awe are necessarily exclusive.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:40 am

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