When the writers of the Wisdom Literature say that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, they are saying that the absolute, essential starting point if you want to acquire true wisdom is reverence and adoration for God.
Showing a contrast, the psalmist tells us, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). Wisdom is contrasted with foolishness. However, in the Hebrew literature, the term fool does not describe a person who lacks intelligence. To be foolish to the Jew is to be irreligious and godless. The fool is the person who has no reverence for God, and when you have no reverence for God, inevitably your life will show it.
The Wisdom Literature also makes a sharp distinction between wisdom and knowledge. A person can have unbounded knowledge and not have wisdom. But the reverse is not the case; no one can have wisdom if he does not have knowledge. The anti-intellectual spirit of our times declares: "I don't need to study. I don't need to know the Bible. All I need is to have a personal relationship with Jesus."
That viewpoint is on a collision course with what the Wisdom Literature teaches.Too many of us ignore or even fear the study of philosophy. For someone like me, who for many years avoided and even mocked it, these words hit close to home. After all, philosophy is simply two Greek words jammed together: philo (derived from phileo -- "to love"), and sophia ("wisdom"). Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and there is nothing in the Bible that cautions us about pursuing that.