Sunday, June 03, 2012

wisdom (wiz' dɘm) n.

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Proverbs 8:1-19

TO CHEW ON: "Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire
cannot be compared with her." Proverbs 8:10-11

The story of young King Solomon asking for wisdom above everything else has always intrigued me. How did he know to ask for something so wise? Which prompts me to ask, what exactly is wisdom? How do we know if we've found it? How do we know if we're wise -- or foolish?

My old Funk and Wagnalls College Dictionary defines wisdom: 1] The power of true and right discernment; also conformity to the course of action dictated by such discernment; 2] Good practical judgment; common sense.

Of course the Bible puts its own shades of meaning onto the word. Let's do a little drilling down to see what this most desirable quality is from a biblical perspective.

We'll start with today's reading—Proverbs 8—which is a poem devoted almost exclusively to wisdom. In it wisdom speaks telling the excellence and benefits that she has to offer. We see that wisdom is a focus on the excellent, the right, the true (Proverbs 8: 6-7). It is righteousness—not crookedness or perversity (Proverbs 8:8). It is associated with prudence, knowledge and discretion (Proverbs 8:12). The wisdom-seeker may need to expend some effort to gain it (Proverbs 8:17) but the search is worth it because of wisdom's lasting results (Proverbs 8:18-19).

The Bible speaks of wisdom in many other places as well. We learn that:
  • The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).
  • The main source of wisdom is the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15).
  • Wisdom involves more than head-knowledge It also calls for action (Matthew 7:24-27).
  • Wisdom that is "from above" is winsome in its behaviour (James 3:17).
  • The ability to speak with with wisdom at the right time is a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:8).
  • Godly wisdom may not agree with the wisdom of secular society (1 Corinthians 2:6) .

These facts about wisdom are wonderful to know. But one needs a whole new batch of wisdom to know how to apply the theory to the challenges of modern life as they relate to:
- parenting
- family relationships
- our jobs (employer/employee relationships; business ethics).
- the positions we take personally and as churches on moral issues in a society where shifting public opinion has become the standard.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be a lifelong wisdom-seeker and wisdom-applier. Amen.

MORE: Wisdom test

Test your Bible knowledge about Godly wisdom in an online test.

Today is  the first Sunday after Pentecost, also known as Trinity Sunday. The liturgy for today begins with the following collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(From the archives.)

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  1. My Bipolar son in last months of his life wrote a big paper on WISDOM. How does a Bipolar man thinks inside his mind and let it flow out. His most favourite word was ‘Wisdom’ and he said ” Wisdom is my most favourite word and to spend life seeking reverence for it is of loss none but being lost to a life most sublime. It is mostly overgrowing troubled tooth for all human beings ever since, but, surfaced only in the best philosophical mind”
    Can some one like to comment on his thoughts. His whole piece is on my post at

  2. Tahir, I read some of your son's writings and can see he was preoccupied with the idea of wisdom. I hope at some point he understood that God loved him enough to send Jesus to pay the death penalty that his sins (and all our sins) deserve.


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