Proverbs 2:5 – Meaning / Commentary
The key passage of the book of Proverbs is found in chapter 1 verse 7. There, Solomon indicates that true knowledge begins with respect for God, and those who turn from instruction are foolish. The “then” statement found here in verse 5 gives greater depth and meaning to that concept. In the book of Proverbs, understanding is the mastery of a subject. The subject explained in this verse is the fear of the Lord. In Proverbs 1:7, we learned to put God first, to give honor and respect of the Lord priority over merely gaining knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
In ancient philosophy, virtues were a set of fundamental characteristics exhibited by moral men. This passage from Proverbs implies traits such as wisdom, integrity, courage, and justice. Virtue, in the philosophical sense, requires a person to develop all of these various abilities. The “then” statement featured in this verse concludes the prior “if” statements, leading us towards a full-circle understanding of virtuous living.
These steps can be arranged in a logical, natural sequence for personal application. First give priority to the “fear of the Lord,” then acquire knowledge which glorifies God, then learn to live virtuously, and then, finally, you will fully understand what it means to fear (respect, honor) the Lord.