Blog - Proverbs 3:18

  • By Pastor Chad Wagner
  • on Tuesday, September 14, 2021
If you like this blog, then you will like Get Wisdom, Get Understanding which is Pastor Wagner's commentary series on the book of Proverbs which is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Find out more here. For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary. Proverbs 3:18 "She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. " (Pro 3:18)
This verse concludes Solomon's litany of reasons as to why the man who finds wisdom is happy (blessed) (Pro 3:13-18). In addition to being more valuable than silver, gold, rubies, and anything else which could be desired (vv. 14-15), and bringing long life, riches, honor, pleasantness, and peace to those who have it (vv. 16-17), wisdom is also a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her (v. 18). She is a tree of life. Wisdom is the source of life. Jesus Christ, who is "the wisdom of God" (1Co 1:24), said that "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (Joh 10:10). Jesus gives His people both physical and spiritual life through His divine power, and He gives them an abundant life through the word of God when they read, study, and live by it. Life is "the condition or attribute of living or being alive; animate existence . . . the cause or source of living; the vivifying or animating principle; he who or that which makes or keeps a thing alive" (OED). Food which comes from natural trees is for the maintenance of man's physical life: the tree of the field is man's life (Deut 20:19). Similarly, wisdom that comes from Christ through His word is for the maintenance of man's spiritual life.

Ecc 7:12 - For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. Pro 4:22 - For they (the words of God where wisdom is found) are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

The "tree of life" in Pro 3:18 is a reference to the tree of life that God placed in the garden of Eden alongside the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of the tree of life, if eaten, had the ability to cause Adam and Eve to physically live forever.

Gen 2:9 - And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Gen 3:22 - And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

There was apparently something contained in that fruit which stopped and reversed the aging and degenerative process which culminates in death. The tree of life was apparently at some point translated from the garden of Eden to the paradise of God in the present heaven (Rev 2:7) where it will remain until it is transported with the New Jerusalem to the new earth (Rev 21:1-3; Rev 22:2) after the destruction of the present earth at the second coming of Christ. In keeping with its original design in the garden of Eden, the tree of life will nourish the bodies of the children of God on the new earth and keep them from degenerating and dying.

Rev 22:2 - In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

The Lord barred Adam and Eve from the tree of life to prevent them from living forever on this earth (Gen 3:24), but we who partake of Christ, who is the wisdom of God (1Co 1:24), thereby have eternal life (Joh 6:51, 54). Those that overcome this world by faithfully keeping God's commandments are promised access to the tree of life in heaven (Rev 2:7; Rev 22:14). By embracing wisdom through the word of God now we obtain a foretaste of the life-sustaining blessings of the tree of life which awaits us. To them that lay hold upon her. Wisdom is only a tree of life to us if we lay hold upon her. We are exhorted in Pro 4:13 to "Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life." Fast is "with firm grasp, attachment, or adhesion; so as not to permit of escape or detachment; tightly, securely", and hold is "to keep from getting away; to keep fast, grasp" (OED). How important it is to hold fast the faithful word as we have been taught (Tit 1:9; 2Ti 1:13) that we may lay hold of wisdom. And happy is every one that retaineth her. We are blessed (happy) when we retain wisdom. To retain is "to keep in custody or under control; to prevent from departing, issuing, or separating; to hold fixed in some place or position" (OED). We will not be blessed if we let go of wisdom. Hence the admonition to "buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Pro 23:23). If we retain God's words and the wisdom contained within them, we shall live: for wisdom is a tree of life.

Pro 4:4-6 - He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

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