Solomon is popularly considered the wisest man that ever lived.

In 1 Kings 3:3-15, Solomon made a thousand sacrifices to the Lord.  Later, God appeared to him in a dream, asking what it was that Solomon wanted from God. Solomon asked for wisdom. Pleased with this, God answered Solomon’s prayer, promising him great wisdom because he did not ask for self-serving rewards like long life or the death of his enemies.

Solomon received wisdom from the Lord, and in the end even the Queen of Sheba, came to investigate his reputation, and concluded that Solomon was wise.  Many of his writings are now available to us in Scripture in particular some of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

Perhaps the best-known story of his wisdom is the Judgment of Solomon (1 Kings 3:16-28), where two women each lay claim to be the mother of the same child. Solomon efficiently resolved the dispute by commanding the child to be cut in half.  The true mother gave up the child, rather than seeing it killed, thereby allowing Solomon to identify her.

Listen to Solomon’s advice regarding wisdom:

The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (Prov 4:7)

Wisdom, according to Solomon, is worth everything. 

In a world that is full of “wisdom” let us be clear about what wisdom is NOT:

  • Cute sayings (wisdom quotes) we pass around and see on social media. Anyone can quote nowadays.
  • Self-help books and life journeys that seem to show the way. Whatever “number of steps to…”
  • Guru’s, personalities we follow, celebrities and their sayings
  • Common knowledge or public agreement

Let’s be realistic now; many of these are good and provide good advice, they sound like wisdom. Still, unless there are sound, biblically solid principles behind them, they are ultimately just the collective human wisdom of this world and not God’s wisdom.  Many books are helpful, but unless they deal with spiritual issues, they are just human knowledge.  Public knowledge is just a group of people agreeing on the same thing, but it is not necessarily wise or good.

So with this in mind, how do we identify what wisdom is?

Wisdom is most often translated from the Hebrew word “chakam” (khaw-kam).

The original word encompasses the thoughts of wisdom, prudence, skillfulness, shrewdness, levelheadedness etc. It implies that from knowledge, experience, insight and judgment comes wisdom.  It is to be wise in mind, word and action.

So then:

  • Wisdom is when you take all that you know, have learned and experienced and with God’s help apply them to life in a wise way — the application of knowledge.
  • Best summarised as an intelligent attitude to the experiences of life.

Proverbs has many references to ‘chakam’; in Proverbs 2:2-11 (NLT), the word “chakam” is used for wisdom and explains that we can walk with confidence in life with wisdom. (The highlights are mine for emphasis)

Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.

Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.

For the LORD grants wisdom!

From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.

He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.

Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.


Wisdom is, therefore, to be desired

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7)

What to do if we desire wisdom?

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5).

Reflection Questions:

  • Look back over your life, has there ever been a season where you have consciously sought out the wisdom of God and applied it to your life?
  • Would you say that your life is characterised by wise choices and well thought out actions?
  • Look again at Proverbs 2:2-11 (NLT) and note the benefits of wisdom  as described in the passage.  Now read it again in the Message Bible and notice the blessings promised in your life as you seek Wisdom.
  • Taking James 1:5 to heart, write out a prayer asking God for wisdom in specific areas of your life.

Father, I want to be wise since wisdom brings the gift of knowledge, common sense, confidence, integrity and protection.  Thank you that your word says that we can ask for wisdom and that You provide it generously without finding fault.  Thank You for being my source of wisdom.  Lord build a desire in my heart to get wisdom; may it become a passion and hunger in my life that I will not rest unless I receive Your wisdom to guide the path of my life.

Next: Wiser Than My Enemies (next in the 10 part series on Wisdom)

Other Blog Posts on this Topic:

A Vital Spiritual Discipline

The Power of God’s Word