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- The Precedence of Godly Wisdom
- Wisdom through God
- Wisdom through Others
- Wise Speech
- Wise Personal Practices
Wisdom is one of the attributes most highly valued in the Bible. Thankfully the Bible says much about how we can gain wisdom. The Bible also contains very astute advice on other topics associated with wisdom, notably speaking – a key medium that we use in relating to others.
“Godly Wisdom” is used here to denote the wisdom which the Bible advocates, wisdom which is based on the Bible’s teachings.
[Wisdom:] Grab hold of my instruction in lieu of money and knowledge instead of the finest gold, 11because wisdom is better than precious gems and nothing you desire can compare to it. Proverbs 8:10-11 ISV
No one should fool himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise by this world’s standards, he should become a fool, in order to be really wise. 19For what this world considers to be wisdom is nonsense in God’s sight. As the scripture says, “God traps the wise in their cleverness”; … 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 GNT
Here Paul portrays worldly wisdom as inferior to the wisdom of God – to both the wisdom of God himself (v. 19) and to godly wisdom (v. 18), which ultimately comes from God. In v. 18, “become a fool” means to forgo aspiring to the flawed wisdom of this world and recognize the shortcomings of one’s understanding – in effect see oneself as a “fool” – so as to be open to true, godly wisdom.
Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom as it leads us to base our thinking and life on God and his teachings or commands – the source of true wisdom for life. For fear of God moves us to obey God’s commands and do what is right, thus manifesting wisdom (as indicated in the following two subsections).
[Moses, to the Israelites:] Look! I have taught you statutes and ordinances just as the Lord my God told me to do, so that you might carry them out in the land you are about to enter and possess. 6So be sure to do them, because this will testify of your wise understanding to the people who will learn of all these statutes and say, “Indeed, this great nation is a very wise people.” Deuteronomy 4:5-6 NET
A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds reproof shows good sense. … 32The one who refuses correction despises himself, but whoever hears reproof acquires understanding. Proverbs 15:5, 32 NET
Here “reproof” appears to refer to a rebuke or reprimand, a form of discipline (v. 5) or correction (v. 32).
The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. 35Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things. Matthew 12:34b-35 NCV™
The following topics are prominent in what are known as the Bible’s wisdom books, notably in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes – as well as occurring elsewhere in the Bible.
[Paul, to the Thessalonian believers:] We didn’t waste our time loafing, 8and we didn’t accept food from anyone without paying for it. We didn’t want to be a burden to any of you, so night and day we worked as hard as we could. 2 Thessalonians 3:7b-8 CEV
She [a wife of noble character] obtains wool and flax, and she is pleased to work with her hands. 14She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar. 15She also gets up while it is still night, and provides food for her household and a portion to her female servants. 16She considers a field and buys it; from her own income she plants a vineyard. 17She begins her work vigorously, and she strengthens her arms. 18She knows that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out in the night. 19Her hands take hold of the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle. Proverbs 31:13-19 NET
[A wise teacher:] So I recommend the enjoyment of life, for there is nothing better on earth for a person to do except to eat, drink, and enjoy life. So joy will accompany him in his toil during the days of his life which God gives him on earth. Ecclesiastes 8:15 NET