Bible Workbench: Proper 15, August 16, 2009

Text: Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn her seven pillars.

When I was young, I remember a treasured book in my father’s library. It was Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence. Lawrence had begun writing a book about seven major cities of the Near East when World War II broke out. The book became his autobiography, and the background for the film Lawrence of Arabia.

Nowhere in Proverbs do we have any explicit identification of what those pillars might be. Seven is a number indicating perfection and completeness. Psychologist Erik Erikson named his final stage of human psychosocial development Wisdom, and suggested that it involved integrating all of life experience, valuing both the good and the bad, recalling how we have made a difference and finding meaning in what has happened.

What would you name as the seven pillars that would complete the house of Wisdom? What qualities, experiences, or understandings provide the support for Wisdom? How do you experience them in your own life? What might you do to build on them?

– Andy Kille

Images of Sophia/Wisdom:


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