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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 24:3-4 By wisdom a house is built

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, March 30, 2019

3 By wisdom a house is built,
  and by understanding it is established.
4 Through knowledge the rooms are filled
  with precious and beautiful treasures.

Verse 3 is an example of synonymous parallelism, in which the first line is repeated in the second line in nearly identical terms. In this case, wisdom and understanding might be taken as just about the same thing, but we should remember that wisdom in the Proverbs is usually equated with faith in God, and understanding would be one’s depth of knowledge about God’s word and God’s plan for mankind.

Verse 4 is a good example of another kind of poetic structure called synthetic parallelism. This is where the second line does not repeat the first but fills in something that is missing from the thought. In this two-verse proverb, the final line nicely closes off the thought and creates a pleasant feeling to the passage: three similar thoughts are rounded off by a satisfying conclusion.

This passage recalls one of Solomon’s psalms: “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). The three conceptual nouns: wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, appear in other proverbs (Proverbs 2:6, 3:19-20, 9:10, 23:23). In 3:19-20, they are the very foundation of God’s creation. If this passage is coupled with that one, then here we have a “house” that is the entire universe, and the “rooms” are every field, cavern, valley, tree, lake, flock and herd all over the world.

More than that, “every house” also teaches us about our very concept of the universe. Every theory and idea we have about how the world works, from gravitation to locomotion to civics to social studies, must begin with true faith in God and understanding of God’s plan for mankind. Otherwise, man’s ideas are sterile and fruitless. If we deviate from the path of faith, we leave behind all knowledge, all understanding, and all wisdom. Only by faith in Christ are we saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), and faith in God alone is the beginning of wisdom.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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