By Evan D. Burns
In a sermon on Proverbs 14:8, Andrew Fuller looked long and hard at the virtue of godly wisdom. He extracted many helpful principles from this verse, and one of the most insightful comments he made was how to use the Word of God in getting wisdom. He says that the Word functions in two main ways in teaching us wisdom. It shows us what the destructive end will be of folly, from which wisdom deters us. Moreover, he makes an amazing observation about wisdom—the eye of wisdom should not chiefly look to the negative consequence of folly in order to avoid it; rather, the eye of wisdom should zealously fix its sight on Christ who is worthy of its gaze. Such Christ-enamored wisdom is cultivated through meditation and prayer.
We shall read the oracles of God: the doctrines for belief, and the precepts for practice; and shall thus learn to cleanse our way by taking heed thereto, according to God’s word. It will moreover induce us to guard against the dangers of the way. We shall not be ignorant of Satan’s devices, nor of the numerous temptations to which our age, times, circumstances, and propensities expose us. It will influence us to keep our eye upon the end of the way. A foolish man will go that way in which he finds most company, or can go most at his ease; but wisdom will ask, “What shall I do in the end thereof?” To understand the end of the wrong way will deter; but to keep our eye upon that of the right will attract. Christ himself kept sight of the joy that was set before him. Finally, as holy wisdom possesses the soul with a sense of propriety at all times, and upon all occasions, it is therefore our highest interest to obtain this wisdom, and to cultivate it by reading, meditation, prayer, and every appointed means.
Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 465-66.
Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Thailand with his wife and twin sons. They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.