A Word from the Word
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. NIV
The psalmist there speaks about two wonderful qualities, qualities which are very rare amongst men and women today – the qualities of wisdom and understanding. The psalmist points out that each of these has a moral foundation. The foundation for wisdom is the fear of the Lord; the foundation for understanding is following the Lord’s precepts. So it’s fear of the Lord, expressed in obedience, that is the key to true wisdom and true understanding.
We need to observe a distinction between wisdom and understanding on the one hand, and education and cleverness on the other. There are many educated, clever people who do not have wisdom or understanding. Cleverness is a matter of the mind, but wisdom goes deeper than that. It’s possible to have high education and in many ways to be a fool. An American president once said that if a man is an uneducated thief, he may steal a railroad car, but if you educate that man he’ll steal the whole railroad!
So you see, cleverness and education are no substitute for the moral foundation of wisdom and understanding which are the fear of the Lord and obedience to His precepts.