The word wisdom is mentioned 141 times in the Bible. “Wisdom” is different from “knowledge” in that wisdom deals with character and behavior, whereas “knowledge” is mainly intellectual enlightenment. Knowledge may be merely a gathering of unrelated facts without the ability to use these facts in everyday life. Whereas, wisdom is the ability to use facts in a practical way.
Wisdom in the Bible encompasses the following principles:
- Technical skill (Ex. 28:3; 35:26; 1 Kings 7:14)
- Cleverness and smartness (1 Kings 2:6; 3:28; Job 39:17; Isa. 10:13; 29:14)
- Practical, worldly wisdom (1 Kings 4:30; Isa. 47:10)
- Religious wisdom (Deut. 4:6; Ps. 37:30; 90:12; Prov. 10:31; Isa. 33:6; Jer. 8:9)
- Wisdom as an attribute of God (Ps. 104:24; Prov. 3:19; Jer. 10:12; 51:15)
- Personified divine wisdom (Prov. 8:1–36; 9:1–6)
- Ideal human wisdom (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:2)
The Old Testament
Solomon wrote, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 also ch. 1:1-7). Real wisdom will reveal itself in a moral and religious character that loves and obeys God. This wisdom enters into all aspects of practical life. It does not separate virtue from the daily duties of life. In the life of a person who has true wisdom, every thought and act is submissive to the requirements of God.
He who makes God’s truths a part of his life becomes a new creature and prospers both physically and spiritually. Solomon, in the beginning part of his rule, was faithful to the law of God. For this reason, his reign was a time of high moral standing as well as of great material prosperity. “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (1 Kings 10:23).
The book of Proverbs is a classic collection of Solomon’s wise sayings. Although wisdom is built on a relationship with God, the book is not merely a religious one. Its morals of industry, honesty, prudence, abstinence, and purity are the secret of real success. These morals form a collection of practical principles to both believers and non-believers.
The New Testament
Wisdom is spoken of as “righteousness” (Matt. 6:33), “holiness” (2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:10), “charity” (1 Cor. 13, properly “love”). The emphasis in all of these concepts is on character rather than on a mere ceremonial act. The exercise of wisdom is a function of the intelligent mind. Real knowledge doesn’t not guarantee good actions, but good actions go hand in hand with a knowledge of what is right.
In His service,