Favor By Understanding, Prov 13:15

On Wednesdays, recently, I have been preaching on favor with God.  Initially, we saw that we have favor by righteousness.  And then, with God, we have favor by mercy and truth.  Last week, we saw that we have favor with God by wisdom.  And today, we see in Prov 13:15, with God, we have favor by understanding.

Prov 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard”.  Notice he wrote, “good” understanding.  There are things you can understand that won’t bring you into favor with God.  For instance, you may understand how to gamble, but that won’t give you favor with God.

Good understanding is the ability to grasp the spiritual truths and words in the Bible.  Understanding is often connected with wisdom and knowledge, as in Prov 3:19-20.  These three words are connected but they aren’t the same.  Let’s compare them.

Simply put, knowledge is the accumulation of information.  For example, you probably know Jn 3:16 by heart.  Some of you can even quote it.  That’s knowledge.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and to make good judgments with the words of God and about the words of God.  The first part of Job 28:28 says, “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom”.  And Prov 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.  Without the fear of God you can’t discern his words.

Wisdom, therefore, leads people to consider the truth of Jn 3:16.  Consider that despite the fact that the world is God’s enemy, God loved the world enough to give us his only begotten Son.  And the gift of his Son is available to whosoever believeth in him.  Furthermore, those who believe in him have everlasting life now and shall never perish in the future.

By wisdom, you realize that Jn 3:16 is for you, personally.  And that, in the fear of God, you need no alternative “methods” of salvation or other religions to be saved.  God has taken care of everything you need in the gift of his Son.

Understanding is the ability to grasp and comprehend Jn 3:16.  There are many people who “know” Jn 3:16, but they don’t “understand” Jn 3:16.  Many don’t understand that eternal life is a gift to them, Rom 6:23.  They don’t “get” that without receiving this gift, they will perish forever.  And with this gift, they’ll live.

With understanding you “get it”.  In other words, people who understand Jn 3:16 receive the gift of Jesus Christ.  When you understand something in the Bible, you take action on it.  Like the last part of Job 28:28 says, “and to depart from evil is understanding”.

Here’s another example.  From the Bible, you “know” that God will judge everything you do.  With “wisdom”, you discern that which is “good” that God will reward and that which is “wrong”, for which you will receive for the wrong that you do, Col 3:23-25.  With “understanding”, you do the good and you quit the wrong.

God put wisdom and understanding in us, Job 38:36.  “The inspiration of the Almighty giveth (us) understanding”, Job 32:8.  So, when God gives us the Scripture by inspiration, he gives us understanding whereby the Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.

It is for this reason that good understanding giveth favor.  You’re utilizing what God put in you and the scripture that God gives you by inspiration to become a man of God who is “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works”, 2 Tim 3:16-17.  This is, with God, favor by understanding.