Should We Acquire Wisdom or Not?
Wisdom can be acquired only through experience, but by itself, experience does not automatically confer wisdom. Researchers are probing the social, emotional, and cognitive processes that transmute experience into wisdom.
The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding. – (Proverbs 4:7)
Context is vital here. Proverbs 4:7 is simply stating that a person, on the human level, needs to acquire wisdom. It is good to seek to be wise. Solomon is teaching his son, who is a believer in God and His word, to avoid foolishness and seek wisdom. Of course, true wisdom is acquired from God’s word.
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor. – Proverbs 15:33
Here’s a first big separator of knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge alone puffs up (as Paul says in 1 Cor. 8:1). Enlightened people refuse to stand in awe of anything. Information says humility is weakness. Wonder and reverence are like silly games children play.
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. – Proverbs 2:10
To move beyond knowledge and information to wisdom, you must move beyond black and white thinking.
Wisdom isn’t about what you know. It’s about how you see. Wisdom happens when you take knowledge and apply it to your life in a such a way that adds meaning and promotes the common good.
20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established.
27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.
The most obvious source of godly wisdom is the Bible. There we find the Lord’s principles for right character, conduct, and conversation, which apply to the situations and decisions that confront every human being.
We’re all able to recall times when we didn’t respond wisely. Those incidents can be traced back to one of two possibilities—either we didn’t know a certain biblical principle or we knew the principle that applied but chose to ignore it. To ensure that we’re familiar with God’s standards and the importance of following them, we have to spend time reading and understanding His Word.
For example, suppose that you walk into the office and a coworker verbally assaults you with undeserved blame for a costly mistake. Your flesh and the world would have you respond in kind with anger and malice. But Luke 6:27-29 offers a different approach, that might go something like this, spoken gently: “Is there anything else? Thank you for telling me how you feel about this.”
Knowledge comes from learning biblical principles; wisdom has to do with applying them. The Lord cautions us to keep His Word in our heart and in our head so we will heed His instructions (Josh. 1:8; Prov. 8:33).
In pursuing the Christian life, we acquire wisdom by absorbing Scripture, doing what it says, and observing the result, which is for our good even when consequences appear less than favorable. Special classes aren’t required; God simply wants an obedient heart and willing spirit.
1 Corinthians 1:19
For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” – (1 Corinthians 1:19)
The context of 1 Corinthians 1:19 deals with comparing the wisdom of God with the wisdom of man. Paul writes that the wisdom of man is foolishness compared to the wisdom of God. It will be destroyed. In other words, the unbelievers who try and defy God or proclaim that God is not true or that the Bible is not true will all be proven false. This will either happen in this life or on the day of judgment.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. – James 3:17
Wisdom from heaven has no agenda. Its only allegiance is to Truth. Its motives are pure, which is the whole meaning of integrity. Wise people love peace.