Some like Jehovah Witness’s and others say Proverbs 8 is talking about Jesus, given that Jesus is referred to as the “Wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Hence they suggest that Jesus had a beginning. Is that what Proverbs 8 says? Let’s look at these verses:
“Does not wisdom call, and understanding raise her voice?? (Proverbs 8:1). “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 8:12) ““The Lord created me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. From eternity I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no ocean depths, I was born, When there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was born;” (Proverbs 8:23-26). “Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was His delight daily,” (Proverbs 8:30)
So this is how some and JW’s read the above passage. Verse 12 identifies “wisdom” as the one speaking in this passage. “Wisdom” is Jesus who says he was “created” by God and became his master worker at Father’s presence (verse 30). He was involved in the creation process, after he himself was formed since he was the earliest of his achievements.
- Firstly, neither Jesus nor any of the writers of the New Testament apply Proverbs 8 to Jesus.
- We ask JW’s and others, if “wisdom” is an actual person (Jesus) in this text, then who is “understanding” in verse 1?
“Does not wisdom call, and understanding raise her voice? (Proverbs 8:1)
- Who is “prudence” in verse 12 with whom “wisdom” is said to reside?
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence..” (Proverbs 8:12)
At this point, the JW’s and others usually do not have an answer except to ask how we understand these verses. Solomon is using a figure of speech called “personification.” He attributes the qualities of being a person to Wisdom, Understanding, Prudence in order to make the reading more enjoyable and to have a greater impact. This text, therefore is not a literal description of Christ, but a poetic personification of wisdom, poetically saying that God “got” His wisdom before He did anything — i.e., God has always had wisdom. This is obvious throughout Proverbs. Consider Chapter 7:4-5.
“Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words”
If wisdom is Jesus, is Jesus your sister? If wisdom had to be created at a point in time, are we to conclude that Jehovah God had NO wisdom until He created it? Imagine the folly of reading Jesus into these poetic words! Did the Father also have a beginning because it mentions “the beginning of His way” (Proverbs 8:22)?
The personification of the divine attribute of wisdom begins in chapter one: “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square” (1:20). In chapter seven wisdom is called “my sister”. Wisdom also lives together with prudence; yet another personification (8:12).
Referring to Jesus in this poetic passage is both out of place and goes against what Solomon is trying to teach. Solomon is not referring to Jesus in Proverbs 8, but is simply using a figure of speech called personification, as he does throughout Proverbs. If this is talking about Jesus, it then teaches that Jesus is as eternal as Wisdom, because God has always had wisdom. In fact, the same Hebrew word translated “everlasting” or “time indefinite” (owlam) which is used to express God’s eternal nature at Psalm 90:2 is used to express the eternal nature of wisdom at Proverbs 8:23.