Proverbs 1:5

A Wise Man will Hear

A wise man will hear…

1. Wise = skillful, prudent, wise (ethically and religiously).
• The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom… (vs.2a)
• It teaches the simple ones and young men—knowledge and discretion. (vs.4)
• But in vs.5 he states that this book also is a book of wise instruction to the wise! (not just the simple)
• HOW does a man become wise or increase in wisdom? What is it that characterizes a wise man? (He will hear…)

2. Hear = to hear, listen to, to hear with attention or interest, obey;
• This is a close kind of hearing… attentiveness… interest…
• This is the kind of hearing that really sinks in…
• It implies more than simply hearing a sound; it implies the proper response to what is heard. (obedience)
• It might be translated “hearken”—because that is more closely associated with obedience.
• To the Hebrew mind, to hear God was to obey Him. For a parent to give a command to a child in his hearing meant that it would be obeyed.

3. It is not stated in this verse exactly WHAT he will hear… but that is implied in the context.
• All by itself, vs.5 is a valid principle—which will hold true in any number of contexts. Wise men listen wherever they are.
• In context here, the wise man will LISTEN and hearken to the proverbs found in this book!
• The author is explaining the purpose of the book of Proverbs. (vs.4)
• A wise man will pay attention to the practical truths in this book.
• Wise men will listen… fools will not. Wise men will pay close attention to what is said. Fools will not. Wise men will obey. Fools will not.
• This is a major difference between a wise man and a fool.
» The fool knows everything—or thinks he does—so he has no need to listen.
» The wise man knows that he doesn’t know everything. He realizes that he has much to learn—so he listens.
» The wise man realizes that he has not attained perfection yet, but he keeps on striving! (Phil. 3:12)

4. Pride and humility play an important part in this kind of wisdom.
• The fool, because of pride, feels himself to be superior to instruction.
• The wise man, out of humility of mind, knows that he has a lot to learn, and hence, will listen!
• I Cor. 3:18 – If a man thinks he is wise in this world (he is really a fool!) let him become a fool (humble himself—realize you don’t know everything) and thus, he will become wise!
• You cannot separate wisdom from humility… they go hand in hand. So too, pride and foolishness go hand in hand as well!
• A fool gets a little bit of knowledge, and it can produce pride.
» A believer may begin to understand some important Bible doctrines… and begin to think he’s got it all figured out…
» That pride keeps him from becoming wise!
» Once you’ve got it all figured out—who needs to learn any more? Who needs to listen?
» This kind of pride prevents a man from growing in wisdom.

5. The wise man is teachable. He does not insist on doing all the talking. He is willing to listen.
• Readiness to learn is characteristic of a truly wise person.
• Verse 5 refers to a wise person—young or old—male or female—anyone! Wisdom is characterized by the capacity to listen… and really hear what is being communicated.
• This is a priceless capacity—for the husband to be able to hear his wife… for the wife to be able to hear her husband—for the children to hear their parents!
• This is not selective hearing. This is hearing period! Listening… and understanding.
• This is not the kind of hearing that goes in one ear and out the other.

6. Hearing the proverbs… or any portion of God’s word is a moral capacity.
• It is much more than just the vibration of ear drums… it is a hearing that sinks in… It is the kind of hearing that results in us GETTING the message… the message is understood.
» However, it is possible to hear a proverb or a truth… understand it… and then reject it!
» Men do that all the time in the world.
• This kind of hearing implies the proper response… a hearing with the ears and the heart.
» He that hath ears to hear (he hears with his ears and understands with his mind) let him hear (hearken – obey).
» Hearing in the sense of hearkening is a moral issue!
» Many fools have heard these truths with their ears, but they didn’t really HEAR… hearken… respond in obedience.


And will increase learning…

1. Learning = learning, teaching, doctrine; insight; instruction…
2. A truly wise man will not be content with what he has learned thus far. He will want to ADD to his learning… increase his understanding.
Prov. 18:15 – he seeks more and more.
• Why? Because although wise men may know a lot, they know enough to know that there is much MORE that they don’t know!
• The fool thinks he knows it all. The wise man knows he doesn’t.

3. The example of the psalmist.
• The psalmist had been given much wisdom by God. (Ps. 119:98-100)
» He was not saying, “I have arrived! I am in need of nothing!”
» He had such wisdom because he meditated all day long! (vs. 97)
» He had been given much wisdom, but he did not allow it to go to his head. That is not the point of these verses.
» He had more wisdom than the ancients—his teachers who studied philosophy or the wisdom of the ages… but they were not necessarily godly men.
» The psalmist not only heard—but he KEPT God’s precepts. That is true wisdom…

• Yet, he pleaded with God to increase his learning! (Ps. 119:12, 33-34)
» He recognized that there is so much more to learn!
» He pleads for God to teach him… to give him more understanding…
» And if he hears it—he will OBEY it! (119:34)

4. Prov. 9:9 – If you give instruction to a wise man—he will be yet wiser!
• Why? Because he is wise enough to listen… to hear… to accept the counsel!
• As a result, he gains MORE wisdom.
• Matt. 13:12 – For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
» Jesus was talking about faith and understanding.
» The man who HAS (faith and understanding) will end up with more and more… as a result of the parables.
» The man who rejects (faith and understanding)—will end up with less and less. His blindness becomes deeper and deeper.
• Teach a just man—a fair, honest, righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
• A wise man and a just man realize their NEED for instruction.
• The fool refuses to recognize that need. He thinks he is ABOVE instruction.
» Prov.23:9 – Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
» Prov. 9:8 – If you reprove (try to instruct) a scorner, he will end up hating you. He does not WANT any instruction… he feels ABOVE reproof.
» But what a contrast with the wise man. He will LOVE you for it! Even if the instruction hurts… even if the reproof was painful. He is wise enough to know that it is what he needed!

5. The example of Apollos
• Apollos was a highly respected man… admired by many.
• I Cor. 1:12 – Some said, “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Peter, and I am of Christ.” That is quite an impressive group!
• Acts 18:24 – And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the scriptures…
• Yet note his humility and hunger to increase in learning…
» Acts 18:24-26 – This man who was so mighty and eloquent, was humble enough to know that he did not know everything!
» He was willing to be instructed by these lowly tentmakers!
» Foolish pride would have caused him to reject any instruction from these mere tentmakers. After all—he was learned and eloquent!
» However, humble wisdom enabled him to hear and to increase in learning!
» What an example to us! We are never to high and mighty to learn… even from the most mediocre of Bible teachers! There is always something we can learn… if we are wise!

6. How about you? Are you increasing in wisdom? Are you learning more and more truth about God and His Word—or have you arrived? Do you now know more than the Sunday school teachers and the pastor? Even so—follow the godly example of Apollos!
» A little knowledge puffeth up.
» A wise man LEARNS and gains great advantage from listening.
» Prov. 13:18 – Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honored.
» Ps. 141:5 – the godly and wise man DELIGHTS in reproof and instruction: Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: