Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
This proverb provides a central theme for the book of Proverbs. In order to have true wisdom, one must first submit to the Word of God. Fearing God involves hearing him - it involves listening attentively to what he says and obeying that word. For us, the primary way in which God's word comes is Scripture, including these proverbs.
Wisdom is defined through the great commandment:
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
This may seem unexpected to the natural mind. We routinely see atheists mocking our quotation of Scripture. They tell us they need "scientific proof" and refuse to hear the Word of God. This is simply the way of the natural mind. It despises the Wisdom of God ... it does not recognize it for what it is.
There are few fools that knowingly reject wisdom, though they recognize it as such. More often fools despise wisdom because they do not recognize it for what it is. That is truly a pitiful sight. Let us take it to heart, fear the Lord, and increase our wisdom.
Notice also, though that fools despise instruction. There is nothing more provoking to human pride than correction. Thus, rather than being fools, we ought to be open to instruction. Throughout Proverbs this is key: do what the wise man does, and do not imitate the fool.
יראת יהוה ראשׁית דעת חכמה ומוסר אוילים בזו׃
Ἀρχὴ σοφίας φόβος θεοῦ, σύνεσις δὲ ἀγαθὴ πᾶσι τοῖς ποιοῦσιν αὐτήν· εὐσέβεια δὲ εἰς θεὸν ἀρχὴ αἰσθήσεως, σοφίαν δὲ καὶ παιδείαν ἀσεβεῖς ἐξουθενήσουσιν.
timor Domini principium scientiae sapientiam atque doctrinam stulti despiciunt