2018-01-09

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Revealed

While "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" is clearly stated Proverbs 9:1, the meaning of each pillar is not clearly stated. Hence, there are many different views about what these seven pillars are. Here is an in-depth study of the different views and to arrive at a possible revelation of what those seven pillars are.
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom:
  • Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.  
Proverbs 9 does not explicitly tell us what the seven pillars are even though it starts with the statement that the personified wisdom has built a house with seven pillars. It describes wisdom as sending out invitations to attend the meal she had prepared. The meal reminds me of the "marriage supper of the lamb" at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. We will find that Wisdom, the best of which, is in fact, Jesus Christ - the Word (See for example Proverb 8 that speaks of wisdom being involved in the creation).

Since Proverb 9 is not specific about the pillars of wisdom, there are many views being offered as to what they are. Here are some from google search.

James 3:17 Wisdom From Above:

Because we are not familiar with the original Greek and Hebrew words, and there are translation problems, you will find many similar words are used such as understanding, knowledge, insights, counsel, etc further confusing the issues. See The Seven Pillars of Wisdom | The Institute for Creation Research

So here are some translations of James 3:17:
  1. (KJV)  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
  2. (NASB)  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
  3. (NLT)  But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
  4. (YLT)  and the wisdom from above, first, indeed, is pure, then peaceable, gentle, easily entreated, full of kindness and good fruits, uncontentious, and unhypocritical.
We can consolidate them to arrive at the seven pillars of wisdom as:
  1. pure
  2. peaceable
  3. gentle
  4. reasonable - yielding to others, friendly, easily entreated
  5. merciful with good work - kindness, helpfulness
  6. just - impartial, fair, unwavering, no favoritism, uncontentious
  7. sincere - unhypocritical, truthful
The Beatitudes

The post, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, says it is the beatitudes. I just summarized the seven keywords here:
  1. Poor in spirit- Humble
  2. Mournful - Hates evil
  3. Meek - Gentle, Prudence
  4. Righteousness
  5. Merciful
  6. Pure - free from corruption
  7. Peacemaker
The Wisdom in Proverbs:

Someone says it must be in the book of Proverbs. So she gives the following seven:

1. Tree of Life - Proverbs 3:13-18
2. Fear of the Lord -Proverbs 9:10
3. Humility -Proverbs 11:2
4. Counsel -Proverbs 13:10
5. Presence of God -Proverbs 17:24
6. Discipline -Proverbs 29:15
7. Kindness -Proverbs3l:26

The House Friends of Wisdom:

This "Seven pillars of wisdom" says the previous chapter, Proverbs 8, describes Wisdom dwelling together with Prudence, Knowledge etc as in 8:12-14. So he gave the seven pillars as:
  1. Prudence
  2. Knowledge and discretion
  3. Fear of God
  4. Counsel
  5. Sound Wisdom
  6. Understanding
  7. Power
So, who is right?

I am a believer in letting the context tells us what a particular sentence means. No one writes a sentence and then don't try to expound and explains it in the same paragraphs. The author of Proverbs 9 could not have stated it and then don't explain it. So I believe the answers should lie close to Proverbs 9, I,e. Proverbs 8-10, taking into consideration that the chapter and verse breakdown were added later and not by the original author.

So I would accept that Proverb 8 list is a good list, though I do not fully agree with the list. My list is shown in the mindmap below:



This does not mean that the others are wrong. They are all correct in describing different aspects of Wisdom. It is just that they are not the seven pillars. You can find many overlapping attributes of wisdom described. They are all useful.

Discovering the Seven Pillars within Proverbs 9:

To discover the pillars in Proverbs 9, we need to use some extraction and deduction to decode the hidden codes.

Pillar#1 Creativity - The Great Plan for the Salvation of Men and the Universe in Jesus Christ


Pro 9:2  She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.

Wisdom has planned and completed the preparation of a great meal - meat, wine, and seating.  It is the marriage supper of the lamb! So we can see that "Creativity" and more specifically, the Creation and the Restoration of Men and the New Heaven and New Earth.

Pillar#2 Love - Sharing - The Gospel Invitation


Pro 9:3  She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town,

The invitations are sent. Good things must be shared. That is the heart of love and of God.It reminds us of the parable of Great Banquet in Luke 14:16-24. All are invited. The young women are attactive and energetic. They call from the strategic positions in town. We, the believers, who bring the good news of the gospels should be equally attractive in our testimonies and do them in strategic locations and positions.

Pillar#3 Insights & Understanding for living 

Pro 9:4  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says,
Pro 9:5  “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.

Pro 9:6  Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

The meats and wines are the substance for our living. Wisdom provides us the insights and understanding for how to live a good and successful life of joy, peace, and a long-life too. We are born without wisdom. We are to learn and acquire wisdom.

Pillar#4 Exposing Wickedness - Choose Your Audience - Persuade not the Wicked

Pro 9:7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Pro 9:8a Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;

This is a reminder of  Matthew 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

While wisdom and the gospels are good things, we cannot force them unto people that do not want them.   We must attract like in Pillar#2 invite rather than force. We cannot be kinder than God too. Jesus often did not respond to the Pharisees who wanted Jesus to perform miracles to prove He was Son of God. But Jesus knew their heart. They did not want proof but excuses to nail Jesus. They accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of demon! No matter what you do or say, they would be used against you rather than be touched and converted by your testimony! No point trying to convert Satan but by all means save the victims of evil. 

Going deeper, why does correcting a scoffer ends up in violence? Because wisdom exposes his wickedness. He is angry that he is found out and hence will want to eliminate the light that exposes him. Consider Cain‘s killing of Abel. Abel set a higher standard and exposed the insincerity of Cain's offering.

Pillar#5 Nurturing & Develop the Willing

9:8b reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Pro 9:9  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

For those that are willing to believe in God and receive the Gospels, we must develop nurture them. It is like the mother nursing and taking good care of her babies and children.

Pillar#6 Fear of the Lord - The Standards of Right & Wrong and Our Obedience

Pro 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Pro 9:11  For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

Pro 9:12  If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

All wisdom must be based on the belief of a Wise and Good God. We are to learn of Him and of His ways so that we also can become like Him since we are created in His image. Paul prayed and worked that Christ may be formed in believers. Right and Wrong are defined by Our Creator God and not by our own understanding. We are to follow and obey His Words and not by what we feel or think is right.

Pillar#7 Yield Not to Temptation - Turn-away from Evil & SIns - Prudence

Pro 9:13  The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.
(vs Wisdom - A Good Meat & Wine with Insights)
Pro 9:14  She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
(vs Wisdom - Young Women who go and call and not sit at the door. For folly, you don't have to do a thing. Just be lazy.)
Pro 9:15  calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way,
Pro 9:16  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense, she says,
(The call of Folly is "It is simple and easy and effortless - Just enjoy")
Pro 9:17  “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
(Sin is attractive for the short-term but has heavy prices to pay.)
Pro 9:18  But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

( The price is death and hell! )

Wisdom is able to discern temptations and be not fooled. She will see the dangers hidden within the outside appearance of attractiveness. Wisdom is able to shed light on the darkness and evil of sins. Wisdom gives us a wake-up call that we may turn away from our sins.

The Combined List
We can combine all the above lists and we can discover that they are the various subsets of 7 Pillars. It is like Paul defining what Love is and the nine aspects of the same spiritual fruit.



What do you think?
And more importantly, what have you learned about the pillars of wisdom that will cause you to change for the better?

May God bless and give you insights.

Lim Liat (c) 9 Jan 2018

See also The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Revealed - Part 2 The Seven Spirits of God


2 comments:

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for summarizing the various versions...it is very interesting what each version looks at..i tend to prefer Prov 8 as well..Prudence, Counsel, discretion, fear of the Lord (the beginning of wisdom) seems better fit for wisdom. Lets see what version is coming out this weekend!

Unknown said...

Sorry its David.