Proverbs 1:3

To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

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Why read the book of Proverbs? Solomon in his introduction gave at least nine reasons (Pr 1:1-4). He lists wisdom, instruction, understanding, judgment, justice, equity, subtilty, knowledge, and discretion as goals, all of which are vital for success in life. Here are four of them – wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity. These are four things you must learn.

You were born ignorant and selfish. Your heart has depraved and perverted affections from Adam, which destroy ability to perceive and reason correctly. Until God regenerates you with a new heart, you will not be wise or right, for your affections remain selfish and perverse. After regeneration, you need instruction to bring your mind up to speed.

Here is inspired instruction from the wisest man ever. The book of Proverbs will teach wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity to regenerated persons. But you must receive the instruction, and only humble and submissive readers will do that. Man’s innate pride fights against being corrected and taught by another, for he presumes he is wise and right.

What is wisdom? It is the power of right judgment. It is the analytical ability to fully discern a dilemma or situation and correctly conclude the godly and right attitude or action in response. Wisdom is not highly correlated to intelligence, for wisdom operates on a much higher plane than mere rote memory or calculating speed of simple facts. Wisdom looks beyond the apparent to discover the true nature of a thing or situation.

What is justice? It is choosing solutions that are just and righteous. Justice always condemns the wicked and justifies the righteous. It does not confuse the two or compromise in either direction. It knows what is right and demands it with faithful integrity. The book of Proverbs teaches justice by defining what is right and wrong.

What is judgment? It is closely connected to justice and often used in tandem with it in the Bible. When men say, “He has good judgment,” they mean he has ability to identify error and choose right. Fads, fear, appearances, or other distractions do not alter judgment. Wise men cut to the essential issue of a matter and judge rightly (John 7:24).

What is equity? It is thinking and acting that is completely equal, fair, impartial, and evenhanded. A man with equity is not moved by emotions, friendships, or compensation to compromise. He will not distort truth or slant matters in any direction. He is meticulously fair in distributing both rewards and punishments. He is equally as tough on his own family and friends as he would be on his enemies (I Tim 5:21).

Though there may be some overlap in Solomon’s four goals here, the repetition does not hurt you, for it only emphasizes the exceeding great value of this book. Wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity are wonderful things to have, and every noble reader will crave them with great desire. They are before you in this book. They are hardly taught anywhere else in the world. Thank God for your blessed opportunity, and receive them!

Jesus of Nazareth had these four traits in abundance (Is 11:4; Luke 2:52; Col 2:3). His own enemies said, “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). And when on trial for His life before combined religious and political enemies, they could not produce a single fault in His very public life (Mark 14:55-59). Today He reigns at the pinnacle of power of the universe, and He does so in perfect righteousness (Ps 45:6-7; Rev 19:11).