Proverbs 4:1-13 (Get Understanding)

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Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding (Proverbs 4:1-7).


Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding (vs 7 KJV)

The proverb says to get wisdom, but to get an understanding of that wisdom. Understanding is the ability to perceive and discern a situation in order to apply wisdom (knowledge which is true and moral). Example: First, I have to perceive what flattery and smooth talk is – two things often used by adulterous women (Proverbs 2:16). Then, using understanding, I can avoid or depart from such women who would surely lead me to commit adultery and fornication.

Verse 7 says to me, “A person can have wisdom, but have no understanding. So, get understanding (perception and good sense).” Naturally, if you have wisdom, you should be applying it, but if you don’t have an understanding of your situation and surroundings, how can you apply it? These scriptures lean to the fact that wisdom and understanding go hand and hand. It also makes wisdom look incomplete without it.

So I would say: wisdom without understanding is only half-wisdom. Full wisdom includes understanding. So another definition of wisdom could be: knowledge and understanding combined. Let’s pray for understanding to apply the knowledge God has given us, in this, we’ll have full wisdom. As learned in Proverbs 2, wisdom and understanding comes from God.

I asked myself the question: why would God give wisdom and wait to give understanding? Sometimes we’re just not ready to handle it, sometimes we aren’t prepared to use it, and sometimes we’re not mature enough. Whenever the Lord chooses to give us an understanding is the best time. We must wait and be patient.

A parent repeats himself

We learn by repetition. The book of proverbs was written for everyone’s benefit but originally to Solomon’s children. Just as a parent, Solomon continued to repeat what is very important about wisdom (vs 8-13 CEV):

  • If you value Wisdom and hold tightly to her, great honors will be yours.
  • It will be like wearing a glorious crown of beautiful flowers.
  • My child, if you listen and obey my teachings, you will live a long time.
  • I have shown you the way that makes sense; I have guided you along the right path.
  • Your road won’t be blocked, and you won’t stumble when you run.
  • Hold firmly to my teaching and never let go. It will mean life for you.

I hope we take all this in and apply it.


About Nealreal

I'm a follower of Christ, a Bible teacher, a Hebrew, and a husband. I'm tasked with helping people understand and enter the kingdom of God.

10 Comments

  1. This kinda helps out…it says in the bible Proverbs 19:8 “that he who gets wisdomloves his own soul, he who cheerish understanding prospers!” so I need to know how to get understanding for the Lord says that if you ask for it he would gladly give it to you. How do you know when you have it? Do you feel/see things diffrently?

    1. Understanding is knowing exactly what to do with the knowledge you have. This usually applies to a situation of a moral and spiritual one. I haven’t had too much understanding. I would love to have it though. We just have to pray for it. It probably makes you feel like you know what to do in the situation.

    2. I am a student of wisdom. We can’t make everything spiritual. We live in a natural world also. The Lord leaves some things up to our discretion. Like what to wear, what to eat which church to go to.. our problem is that we have made bad choices in life and put ourselves in a dilemma. Then we want to blame someone for our mistakes.

      My baby son stuck his finger in a light socket, he lit up. Now he has .understanding. That is why it is important to listen to someone light you father or mother to instruct you in the basic things in life.

  2. Neal Thank you! My Life is so blessed because of this and when I need so help or have some question I am always Lead to come here for Help. So thank you for your Obidence and willing to do the Site on word for more in Depth study Dead works Lead me here and I have been up here reading especially during the christmas break , I truly emersed myself in today I has some question about tithes and offering , and I’ve always tithed and did as the Lord instructed me however god open my eyes More to the truth in learning More about it I knew today I was wrestling with my new mind set on what has been talking to me about , so today I got my answer the Holy spirit Lead me right here so thank you..

  3. Saints i never truly understood what this meant until the other night i was personally going through a roller coaster with my marriage. Through the years ive gained knowledge about her and wisdom of her but i never understood her until i got to a quiet place where the spirit of God ministered to me and revealef everything that i needed to understand about her…see for the most part i never trully allowed myself to hear what God wanted me to know for a long time becaus i was so wrapped up in my own past hurts and didappointments that i couldnt fully see that she was hurting just as much if not more than myself…but when i got to my quiet place without ministering to myself God was able to intervene immediately and this very verse quickened in my spirit and I immediately felt renewed and I couldn’t be upset anymore…I know that was god without a shadow of a doubt and to him I am truly grateful….the moral to this story is don’t let your past pains and disappointments rob you of what joy and love you can have with the one you love and get yourself a quiet place where you can tune out everything and its just you and God..right now I am very happy for the understanding he gave to me…much love saints…Anthony

  4. Thanks for this insightful explanation. Now I know that Wisdom is like a tool box and Understanding is the correct application of each tools in the box. Like you cannot use the hamper to open the door that only requires only a key.

  5. our understanding of God results our service to him…until I understood Gods plans for my life,I thought he has forsake me..I was complained here and there till Holy Spirit filled me with Devine understanding,then my concept of God change.proverbs 24:3

  6. Aww thank you very much for taking us through this passage. I never really understood it for a long time. And I guess I was led here by the Holy Spirit to have a read. I pray I take this on boar. You have to have understanding of what God wants you to know!

  7. Interesting also is verse 5 (in proverbs 4) “get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.”
    The Word of the Lord is active and powerful; read it, meditate on it, immerse yourself in it; believe it, trust it and walk in it – live out your life believing that this word is life, is more powerful than what the world/ the devil/ your surroundings may be trying try to say to you. Our God is bigger. He has the victory so we can live victoriously. How? Believe in His word; in Him: and walk forwards accordingly and see that he’s good to his word.

    Then get the understanding as you see that our God and His word is, indeed, more powerful, overcoming , turning worldly wisdom on its head. Our God is greater. All His ways are just.

    It’s God’s will to bless you in marriage, so when the “world” screams all sorts of other things at you through situations, dig onto that word, read, ingest, stand and then walk it out. Not easy but true.

    Get understanding: understand or “Stand Under” covered by, God’s word. Get yourself in such a position, spiritually, that you’re standing under, covered by God’s word. Your actions can then be guided and authoritatively underpinned by God’s victory so you will succeed on walking it out, God’s way.
    God bless

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