Wisdom allows us to experience love, hope, peace, and joy in our daily lives. Those fortunate to have gained a little wisdom and understanding, experience a much higher quality of life. In contrast, living a life absent the wisdom of God produces regret, conflict, pain, suffering, and despair. The adverse effects caused by a lack of wisdom extend not only to our friends and family but to the world around us. How can we grow in biblical wisdom?
To be clear, I’m speaking of Biblical wisdom and not solely intellectual knowledge. An intelligent person can lack the necessary biblical teaching on wisdom and experience the same negative consequences. Godly wisdom is knowledge, discernment, and understanding.
Initially, the concept of wisdom is easily understood, but obtaining wisdom seems elusive, just out of reach for most of us. Many spend their entire lives searching for knowledge only to end up empty-handed. Wisdom is not gained overnight after reading a book or after having a lengthy conversation with a wise mentor. Although these things can be beneficial, we have to grow in wisdom over time and mature in Christ.
To grow in wisdom is gradual, requires purposeful action, and is a lifetime pursuit. The question then becomes, “How do we grow in biblical wisdom?” Not to worry, my friend, all the answers we seek are found in the Bible.
What does the Bible Say About Wisdom?
The Bible is our authority on all things, containing many teachings about wisdom and understanding. Searching the Bible for answers to life’s essential questions is a perfect example of biblical knowledge. The Bible contains the very words of God; who better to guide us through the treacherous waters of life?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) reads, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (17) so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Wisdom in Psalms and Proverbs
The book of Psalms is an excellent place to start learning how to grow in biblical wisdom. Psalms include many insights on wisdom. A close study of Psalms gives the reader a glimpse of how a person becomes wise. And the positive impact wisdom will have on his or her life. The two verses below provide us with a picture of biblical understanding.
Psalm 1:3 (NIV) describes a wise person as, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither–whatever they do prospers.”
Psalm 15:2 (NIV) continues to describe a wise person, “The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;”
A person with biblical wisdom will have access to a reservoir of nourishment for growth that is abundant and never-ending. They are productive because they are planted where God has them, and their life has meaning. God continually blesses them! The wise man is a man of integrity and principle—one who only has good intentions and always speaks the truth.
To grow in wisdom, we must read and study the Bible every day to gain insight on what wisdom looks like for your day to day life. Each day pray and meditate on the scriptures and examples provided in your studies. Contrast the examples of wisdom with examples of the unwise as you study.
Proverbs 1:5 (NIV) says, ‘let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance…”
Proverbs 2:2-5 (NIV) reads, “turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding–(3) indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, (4) and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, (5) then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.”
While the unwise reject correction and teaching, the wise accept correction and listen to others to increase their understanding. We don’t wake up one morning full of wisdom and knowledge. We must seek it out and pursue wisdom. If we continually seek wisdom as some seek wealth, God promises he will provide us with Godly wisdom. To grow in understanding means to seek God’s wisdom daily purposefully. Another way we grow in understanding is by praying and consulting with God daily. The closer we get to God, the more He leads us, the more we grow in wisdom.
What Does Jesus Say About Biblical Wisdom?
Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 (NIV), “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
According to the Matthew J. Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible, this passage centers on worldly concerns of stress and anxiety. Jesus warned His disciples about human concerns. God calls us to seek first the kingdom of God and not to worry about the temporary worries in this world. We need to have an eternal perspective as children of God. The verse ends with a promise that if we seek first the kingdom of God, He will provide what we need. We grow in wisdom by trusting God and his authority over our lives.
There is much more teaching on wisdom in the Bible. To truly gain biblical wisdom that will enhance our lives, we must daily study God’s word. We must foster a relationship with Jesus by praying continually and seeking his will for our lives. Trust in Jesus Christ, and you will gain wisdom and understanding.
Here are a few resources on Biblical Wisdom if you are interested. Just click on the title for more information!
|An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts
By Elaine A. Phillips / Hendrickson Publishers
An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts is designed for undergraduate students and laypersons who are studying Scripture. Part One poses fundamental questions addressed by the genre of wisdom literature, explores definitions of wisdom and folly from the biblical perspective, describes the characteristics and forms of wisdom poetry, and places Israel’s wisdom tradition in a wider historical-cultural context. Part Two addresses the practical wisdom associated with Proverbs, treating both the contents and the academic questions that arise. Parts Three and Four focus on Ecclesiastes and Job, respectively, and on the interpretive challenges they raise. Finally, Part Five recognizes the place of Song of Songs in the wisdom tradition. This text is a highly accessible and engagingly written introduction to the Bible’s wisdom literature and is built on a strong scholarly foundation.
|Smooth Words: Women, Proverbs & Performance in Biblical Wisdom
By Carole Fontaine
Fontaine explores the social roles of women as depicted within the book of Proverbs, as well as the character archetypes and patriarchal ideologies which undergird the sages’ portrayal. Using feminist folklore methodologies and performance studies, the author explores an alternative paradigm for understanding women’s relationship to wisdom traditions in the ancient Near East, using parallel texts, later midrash and extrabiblical re-presentations of biblical women associated with wisdom. Fontaine is thus able to show that women were culturally authorized ‘performers’ of the family-based wisdom traditions of teaching, economic problem-solving, and care-giving, and that these roles provided them with a platform to use their acknowledged wisdom in public roles.