Proverbs 12:1

Loving vs. Hating Instruction



1. This proverb contrasts the one who LOVES instruction with the one who HATES it.

2. This is a theme that he has hit often in this book… and one that needs repeating… because we probably don’t like to hear it.

1a Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge

The one who loves instruction…

1. Instruction: discipline; chastening; correction.

a. Used in Prov. 15:10 – correction is grievous…to some.

b. Others LOVE it.

c. Used in Prov. 22:15 – the rod of correction… (Do kids LOVE that rod?)

d. This term COULD be used of classroom instruction, but more likely, Solomon had in mind correction and discipline.

2. Love: desire; to willingly accept;
• have an affection based on a close relationship
• have a desire for an object based in desirability, with a focus on a preference of one thing over another

3. Loving instruction (correction or chastening)

a. No chastening is joyous. (Heb. 12:10)

b. Hence, the term love in this passage does not mean immediate delight and joy. It is a different kind of love.

c. It is NOT a love based on a close relationship of affection. (No one in their right mind would have great affection—feel warm and fuzzy about being chastened of the Lord—or of man!) It’s not like loving ice cream.

d. The kind of love the author describes fits better with the second definition… “a desire for an object based in desirability, with a focus on a preference of one thing over another.”

e. One might LOVE chastening in the sense of PREFERING it to the alternative…
• The alternative to chastening is NO chastening… being left alone…
• The alternative to chastening is NOT experiencing God’s correction…or His love.
• The alternative is for God to let us continue to wander far away…
• The alternative is to let us eat of the fruit of our own doings.
• The alternative is to let us choose to squander away our spiritual lives… to waste God’s time and talents… and to produce a life of wood, hay, and stubble… useless…

f. Love is a choice. It is preferring one thing over another.
• While we as believers may not have immediate JOY when we are rebuked of men or chastened of the Lord… it is possible to PREFER that to the alternative.
• That choice… that preference is what Solomon calls LOVE.
• Love CHOOSES chastening… reproof… instruction… correction OVER the alternative… just going our own way and doing our own thing.

g. We looked at a passage Sunday night in which David demonstrated that he LOVED correction…
• Ps. 141:5 – Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil.

h. Prov. 6:23 – we LOVE instruction when we choose reproof BECAUSE it keeps us in the way of life… it keeps us off dead end streets.
• Young people—your teachers in school may have to correct you… tell you that you were wrong…
• Adults—you too may have to be approached for sin your life… or an offence… or some other type of infraction…
• Keep in mind, that reproof keeps us in the way of life. It is GOOD for us… if we submit to it and learn from it.
• Your teacher corrects you NOT because he gets some kind of morbid pleasure from it… but because he is trying to HELP you…
• Your pastor or elders may have to reproof you—not because they enjoy it—but because it is GOOD for you… to keep you walking in the way of life…
• We ALL need reproof and correction—unless of course, you are perfect already. But the rest of us need it!
• Matthew Henry wrote of the one who loves instruction: “They will value a good education, and think it not a hardship, but a happiness, to be under a strict and prudent discipline.”—an excellent application for students… and for students in God’s university too!

i. We LOVE instruction when we CHOOSE it over the alternative…
• The obvious exhortation arising from this proverb is CHOOSE instruction!
• Submit to correction!
• Think about the alternative to correction… (self will; pride; leaning on one’s own understanding; doing my own thing)…think about where that will lead you—and then choose to reject the alternative and surrender to instruction…

j. Prov. 9:8c, 9 – when a wise man receives instruction, he becomes wiser!
• WISE men profit from reproof. They respond and make the appropriate changes, which is to their honor.
• WISE men eventually appreciate the one who points out his error.
• We need to learn to be wise reprovers—but especially to be willing to RECEIVE reproof. That is a sign of wisdom.

That one also loves knowledge…

1. Knowledge: perception; skill; discernment; understanding; wisdom.

• a knowledge with focus on moral qualities and its application

2. Loves – same word as earlier

3. The one who LOVES reproof, instruction, or correction is the one who LOVES knowledge.

a. He wants to walk properly. He wants to do things right.

b. If there’s dirt on his face, he wants someone to point it out to him.

c. If there is sin in his life, he wants it pointed out to him.

d. If his thinking is off base… worldly… out of harmony with Scripture, this man wants it pointed out to him.

e. He is SERIOUS about spiritual things… serious about pleasing God… serious about his walk.

f. Ps. 119:67 – before I was afflicted (chastened) I went astray… but now have I kept thy word! He has welcomed the affliction—the correction—chastening—BECAUSE now he’s back in the word!

4. This man loves knowledge… knowledge of the truth…

a. And he DESIRES that knowledge—even if it hurts!

b. He wants it—no matter what channel God uses to deliver it to him.

c. It may be through the channel of being reproved by reading the Word quietly and alone.

d. It may be through a message heard in church—the Word pierces the heart and we stand reproved.

e. It may be through the admonition of a concerned brother or sister in the Lord.

f. It may be through the mouth of a babe—a little child!

g. It might even be through a nitpicker who always has something negative to say. Perhaps God would use something that was said—even though the one speaking it did not have the proper attitude either! (God is certainly able to reprove that person’s attitude!)

h. It should matter what channel God uses to deliver the message. The one who loves instruction will RECEIVE it… regardless of how it is transmitted.

i. II Sam. 16:5-7,11 – Even though Shimei’s attitude, and approach was all wrong—David heard the voice of God’s rebuke in his words! David LOVED instruction—and DESIRED knowledge from the Lord—regardless of the channel God chose to deliver it.

j. A good lesson for us all—LISTEN to the rebukes and reproofs—even if some of the reproof is wrongheaded or exaggerated. There may be some helpful fault pointed out… something to be learned through it…

k. If you really love knowledge—then LISTEN and respond to instruction or correction.

5. The wise man WELCOMES reproof and rebuke—because he knows that hearing and responding to it will make him a better person.

a. As Christians, we shouldn’t be afraid of rebuke… or reject it…especially since we know that it is GOOD for us… it keeps us in the way of life.

b. Consider the Olympic athletes. They hire expensive coaches to criticize them… to point out their weaknesses… to show them where they are going wrong… to pick on the tiniest detail of their performance that needs correction.

c. Industries hire efficiency experts to criticize their factories and every aspect of their work.

d. WHY do people in the world hire such experts? Because they want to improve… to run a better business… to be a better athlete…

e. Shouldn’t we want to be better disciples? Shouldn’t we want to improve our service for the Lord? Our walk with God?

f. If so—if we really love knowledge of the truth—then we should love instruction… correction… chastening… rebuke.

6. This proverb implies that there is a direct connection between one’s willingness to receive correction and one’s ability to gain knowledge.

a. If you reject correction—you will remain in your ignorance.

b. As a believer, if we reject correction, we will never progress into a deeper knowledge of God.

c. Knowledge of God is linked to our willingness to change… our willingness to accept correction and DO something about it.

1b But he that hateth reproof is brutish.

1. Brutish: like a brute beast; stupid;

a. Used in Prov. 30:2 – Brutish = have not the understanding of a man.

b. Ps. 32:9 – Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

2. Prov. 5:12-13 – The one who hates reproof will regret it one day…

a. This speaks of the young man who gets involved in immorality—and as a result loses his honor, his wealth, and his health!

b. He was warned… he was rebuked… but he thought he was smarter than everyone else.

c. He thought he could skate on thin ice and it wouldn’t bother him.

d. He was dead wrong… and he lives to regret his foolish behavior.

e. He lives to regret NOT listening to the words of warning and rebuke… but it was too late. He has already lost his home, family, health, and wealth… he is sick, alone, penniless, he’s a loser… and he regrets what he did… but it’s too late now.

3. Prov.13:1 – A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

a. Kids—your parents are on your case because they love you.

b. They don’t want you making some of the foolish mistakes in life that they made… and learned from.

c. Now they have been put in a position of authority over you, to instruct you—not to be picky—but to be helpful…

d. A wise son—or daughter—will HEAR his father’s instruction.

e. This is the way the book of proverbs began—a wise man will hear and will increase in learning.

f. Vs. 18 – the child who rebels and rejects such correction may find himself in poverty one day. Dad wanted him to go to school. He was too cool for that. He will pay one day!

g. As believers, we have our heavenly Father to listen to… regardless of the channel He uses to speak to us to correct us. When God speaks—LISTEN and respond. That’s wisdom.

h. May the Lord give us ALL teachable spirits. That’s the bottom line.

i. When God’s wisdom reigns in our heart, we will be easy to be entreated. (James 3:17)

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