What is the real meaning of wisdom?

If we are to get wisdom, where do we start?  What is the source of wisdom, where can it be found?  Many will tell you that with the information and knowledge available to day, we are surrounded by wisdom.  My own life experience tells me that this is not true.  Yes there is value in knowledge and understanding, but it does not prevent you from making foolish decisions and choices.

But despite all the information available to us, the world seems less wise

Solomon himself told us that:

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” (Ecc 12:12)

Been to a book shop lately?  There is a book for everything under the sun.  All this information and knowledge is not the source of wisdom.  All the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Cor 1:19-20)

Why is this so?

The worlds wisdom is spiritually dead because it does not recognise and understand spiritual things.

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

God’s wisdom and the World’s wisdom are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.  The one is spirit, and the other is spiritually dead with no power beyond this world.

God is the sourceWisdom comes from God, available to us through a relationship with Christ Jesus.  Jesus makes it available to us by revelation of the Holy Spirit.

God is the SOURCE of all wisdom.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111.10)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov 9:10)

There is no point in chasing the next best, greatest, latest “guru” on any matter.  God is the beginning and of all wisdom, it starts with Him.

The Fear of the Lord

Let’s clarify now, that term the “fear of the Lord” is not to be scared or fearful of Him, but rather to have appropriate respect and reverence for the Lord, understanding your position in relationship to Him.

  • God gives wisdom by REVELATION. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5).
  • Wisdom functions by REVELATION. The Holy Spirit has to reveal it to us.  Without the Holy Spirit, we do not understand spiritual things.  God chose that wisdom would only be available to us through the Holy Spirit who would facilitate revelation and the growth of wisdom in us. (“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.  No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” 1 Cor 2:6-7)
  • Bible should be read frequentlyWithout revelation, it is FOOLISHNESS to our minds. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Cor 2:14)
  • We are to GROW in wisdom and in truth. (“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” (Col 1:28)

Therefore beloved…

“Therefore, beloved, since you already know these things, be on your guard not to be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure standing.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:17-18)

Reflection Questions:

  • To what extent do you rely on knowledge and understanding readily available (in books, websites, influencers, specialists, academia etc)  in comparison to spending time praying and asking God for the direction and wisdom you need?  Read 1 Cor 1:19-20 in the Amplified version and consider the source of your wisdom.
  • Do you “fear of the Lord” in your life, do you have an “appropriate respect and reverence for the Lord, understanding your position in relationship to Him.”  What would you say, if you were asked that question?
  • Define for yourself the role of the Holy Spirit in the acquisition of wisdom?  Write out how you think the Holy Spirit would practically impart wisdom to you.
  • Interview a few Christian friends, asking them how the Holy Spirit has helped them apply wisdom from scripture into their lives.

Lord, Your word declares the depth of Your wisdom, reminding us that none can know the limits of Your understanding.  Your wisdom as the Creator is as vast as the universe itself, and your thoughts more than all the grains of sand in the world.  Your wisdom is infinite and eternal, pure and perfect. You are the beginning of wisdom; You hold all wisdom; your wisdom is superior to all the collective wisdom of the world.  Thank you that Your wisdom is not hidden from the world, but revealed to us by Your Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Today I will start to seek out the help of the Holy Spirit in understanding wisdom, being sure to remember that what the Spirit reveals, may not always make sense according to the worlds knowledge.

Next: The Path to Wisdom (next in the 10 part series on Wisdom)

Previous: Wiser than My Enemies

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Two Kinds of Wisdom

Termites of the Heart