Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
Great men grow in wisdom and learning. Are you growing – or just growing older? Instruction and teaching are blessings from God, and great men take advantage of them to increase in knowledge and understanding. The character of any man or woman can be easily seen by their degree of growth in wisdom and learning. What is your character?
The proverb and context have two lessons (Pr 9:7-9). First, Solomon forbad rebuking scorners, for they will hate you and your advice. He commended teaching wise men, for they will love you and the truth and wisdom you give them. Can you tell the difference? Your duty is to wisely allocate your efforts and resources to humble and noble hearers.
The second lesson is that character is known by its response to correction and teaching. All men can be classified as scorners, fools, or wise men. What are you? A fool is basically lazy, selfish, and stupid. A scorner is a rebel that hates advice and those giving it. A wise man is a zealous student of truth and wisdom that loves learning and teachers.
You cannot stand still about truth and wisdom. Either you grow in both, or you backslide in both. Either you defeat the foolish impulses of your heart and mind, or they defeat you. Either you are rejecting the world’s philosophy, or the world’s philosophy is seducing you. Either God is guiding you to more truth, or He is hiding truth from you (Luke 8:18).
You were born ignorant. You should crave learning and wisdom, lest you stay ignorant. Seeking wisdom should be a great goal of your life (Pr 4:7; 16:16). Is it very important to you? If it is, you will apply yourself to take advantage of every opportunity to learn the truth and wisdom of God from your teachers. Are you reading this proverb carefully?
There are special men in the world, because they love to be corrected and taught so they can learn and grow (Pr 1:5; 15:14). These rare people easily reject distracting activities to focus efforts and time on learning wisdom (Pr 18:1-2). A whole assembly once celebrated understanding God’s word (Neh 8:8-12), the eunuch humbly admitted his ignorance and begged for help (Acts 8:30-34), and Cornelius had an eager spirit to learn (Acts 10:33).
It is folly to squander God’s offer of learning opportunities (Pr 15:32). He commanded, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet 2:2). It is a command to desire the word in order to grow. It is suicide to neglect or reject the offers of wisdom that God sends to every man (Pr 8:36). It is disgraceful, if you have been taught long enough to be a teacher, but you still need to be taught (Heb 5:12-14).
What causes men to resent teachers and instruction? Some are stubborn (I Sam 15:23). Some are conceited (Pr 26:12). Some are lazy (Pr 18:1-2). Some are carnal (I Cor 3:1-3). Some prefer fables over sober teaching (II Tim 4:3-4). Some do not focus or prepare; some are discouraged by persecution; some are choked by ambition (Luke 8:11-14).
God expects you to grow in wisdom. He offers it daily. Being without understanding is a sin (Pr 14:8; 19:2; Jer 5:21; Rom 1:31). You are to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ (II Pet 3:18). You can surpass your enemies, teachers, and the ancients. How? Keep God’s words with you – meditate on them, and obey them (Ps 119:98-100).