(Proverbs 19:8 KJV) He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
“Wisdom” (3820) [leb] is not the regular word. It is the word that means the inner center of our being. If you have the NASB it gives you a marginal reading that clarifies that. Now look at the goal. The point this is aiming at is the “soul” (5315) [nephesh]. Hugh Ross lifts this word out and feels that this word is used of all animals that have an awareness of self. It is a quality of depth and personhood.
In order to be everything that God wants us to be it is necessary to make sure that our core of being is right. In other words, to rise above the level of brute you must have your heart regenerated. This is just another way of saying, “Ye must be born again.” Here the emphasis is on being more than just an animal going through life.
So? We are animals in the sense that we are not vegetables. We are more than animals in the sense that we were made in the image of God. Because of sin, we must be restored by the blood of Christ. The alternative conditions of our existence remind us of how important this difference can be.