In these verses, Solomon explains what the purpose of wisdom is (vv. 2-4), who needs it (vv. 4-6), and where it begins (v. 7). Wisdom involves learning from a competent teacher who practices what he knows to be right in his interactions with others. Therefore, wisdom is more than an intellectual grasp of a situation; it also includes the correct practical response (v. 3).
The teacher or wise person will use a variety of statements to convey wisdom (v. 6). Four types are mentioned in this verse – ‘a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles’ – and they may describe the range of statements in the book of Proverbs.
The author mentions three types of people: the simple (which seems to his way of describing the young), the wise (those who already have some wisdom, but always need to increase in it), and the fool (anyone, whether young or older, who dismisses the need for wisdom). The fool does not describe someone lacking in intellectual ability; rather, such a person hates wisdom because he loves his sinful lifestyle.
It is impossible to have biblical wisdom without the correct foundation and the author states that the foundation is ‘the fear of the Lord’. The possession of wisdom is like erecting a stately building that demands an adequate foundation. A person who fears the Lord is one who has discovered the ugliness of sin and sought pardon from the God he has offended. In addition, he asks that same God to provide ongoing guidance and power for living wisely wherever he finds himself.
Since that is the case, there is not any benefit in only trying to add one or two of the proverbs to our outlook on life. Such a use of the book is like a person adding a couple of good items to a building about to collapse because it does not have the right foundation. But when we have a reverent outlook composed of trust in and dedication to the Lord, we are in the school of wisdom for life.