The Bible instructs us: “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor” (Proverbs 4:7-9).
Wisdom is to be valued above any material thing.
A man with great wealth and little wisdom might spoil his wealth away seeking after folly. In the end, his life would be meaningless, or even detrimental, to generations behind him. However, a man with little material means and great wisdom can live a life in prudence. And, though his life might be lived as meager, he passes on an honorable legacy to his family.
Better a meager life with wisdom than a wasteful life with wealth.
Wisdom is more precious than knowledge.
Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary defines wisdom as: “The power of true and right discernment; also, conformity to the course of action dictated by such discernment.” It defines knowledge as: “A result or product of knowing; information or understanding acquired through experience; practical ability, or skills.”
Knowledge is learned, and it is generally based on limited information or experiences. Thus, knowledge isn’t always factual. Men have “known” things through history that aren’t true. For example, in most of human history the world was “known” to be flat. But the earth isn’t flat, it is a sphere (as the Bible recorded in Isaiah 40:22, written more than a millennium before it was accepted by men). In another example: I was taught in school that Pluto was a planet. Now, that has changed in modern teachings and textbooks.
So, knowledge changes as information changes. Too, while knowledge is the retaining of information, it doesn’t necessarily mean a person will be to apply what he knows. Many people with multiple college degrees have gone to school for years but don’t take what they’ve learned into an area where it can be applied. So, knowledge can also be wasted.
But, wisdom is different. Wisdom isn’t the retaining information. It is an ability to discern and distinguish what is good and right, and then acting appropriately on that discernment.
While knowledge is learned, wisdom is acquired. It could be acquired by following the example of others through association (i.e. “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” – Proverbs 13:20.) But, for Christians, the greatest wisdom is given graciously and freely by God to all who ask, if they ask with faith that God hears them and will reward them.
Wisdom comes as a gift of God.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6)
God desires that all His children grow and act in wisdom. That being so, God won’t withhold wisdom from anyone who asks in faith. Why would He? God wants us to draw nearer to Him and wisdom brings us closer into His presence, because wisdom is grounded in faith and reverence of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding” (Psalm 111:10).
God wants all His children to enjoy His wisdom. God also wants all His children to ask Him for wisdom. And, this isn’t to be simply a one-time prayer. The more we seek God for wisdom, the more wisdom He seeds into us.
Wisdom is something God gives in proportion to how we appreciate and use it. It should be something we depend on in our Christian walk and increase as we implement it more and more throughout his lifetime.
However, God won’t grant wisdom to a person who is fickle in his trust in God.
“That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:7-8).
A person must have faith that God hears him “because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). If a man doubts whether God wants what is best for him, that man isn’t ready for wisdom.
If a man’s thinking changes on a whim, he wouldn’t understand or trust discernment anyway. He would continually question himself because his thoughts are constantly filled with doubt. So, there isn’t enough fertile soil in that man’s mind for God to root wisdom. God will wait until that man’s trust in Him grows before He seeds wisdom.
Wisdom is a precious gift, a gift that God wants to bestow on all men – if they trust Him and accept that He wants what is best for them and will grant good things to them.
Wisdom is for your good. And God wants to grant wisdom increasingly to you throughout your lifetime. So, trust God at His Word. Ask God to grant you wisdom. Believe that He will. And know that He wants to you to grow in Christlikeness.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read a study of James 1:2-4 at this link: