POINTS TO PONDER

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When we hear the name King Solomon, most of us immediately think about his wisdom. The royal recorder of kings tells us that King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.[1] Some people think of wisdom as knowledge, but that is not the case. You can know a lot of things but it is useless unless you know how to use it.

Psychologists tell us that wisdom can be acquired only through experience, but by itself, experience does not automatically bestow wisdom. Researchers are probing the social, emotional, and cognitive processes that transmute experience into wisdom. Psychologists tend to agree that wisdom involves an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding that incorporates tolerance for the uncertainties of life as well as its ups and downs. There’s an awareness of how things play out over time, and it negotiates a sense of balance.

Researchers found that there are five strengths that operated beneath wisdom’s umbrella:

  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Judgment
  • Love of Learning
  • Perspective

Each of these strengths exists in every person to some degree. They also can increase in prominence as you learn to use them more. These strengths are part of a larger list consisting of twenty-four.

You can learn about all 24 of your character strengths and see how each rank. (Visit ViaCharacter.org.)

Some people define wisdom as expert knowledge about practical life. Many authors have tried to identify the specific components associated with wisdom. While they vary somewhat, authors tend to point out the following elements:

  • Interpersonal skills. Level of knowledge, sensitivity, and sociability when relating to others. Interpersonal skills allow an individual to adapt to other’s needs and have the most effective interaction possible.
  • Communication skills and good judgmentWisdom, which people usually relate to experience, implies having knowledge and being able to give advice. Wise individuals can help people with their problems and come up with practical solutions that others can’t see.
  • UnderstandingWise people, who can cultivate emotion and life experiences, can understand and empathize with others.
  • General competence. This is probably the thing that people most often associate with wisdom. The wise are intelligent, cultured, highly knowledgeable in many fields, and know how to communicate that knowledge.

No doubt we could go on and on with the various views and theories about wisdom. There are too many to list here, but let us select some that point out where wisdom comes from and how it is used.

But there is one source that will give us a definition of wisdom from God’s point of view, and that is the Holy Bible. King David said it all, reverence for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.[2]

It appears that his son Solomon was listening because he also says that reverence for the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.[3] He continues by telling us that the way a fool acts is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.[4] So, says the King, listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.[5]

Furthermore, Solomon has advice for those who want to gain wisdom. He tells us an intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.[6] For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.[7] It will pay off, says Solomon, for a person who finds wisdom is blessed, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are satisfying.[8]

And the importance of wisdom was not lost on our Lord or the Apostles. Jesus told his disciples not to worry when they were confronted by disbelievers or in answering charges against them. At that moment, said our Lord, I will give you wisdom in what to say and I will help you say it. Those who are against you will not be able to stop you or say you are wrong.[9]

Then James, the brother of our Lord advises us that if any of you lacks wisdom, let them ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given them.[10] Not only that, but the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.[11] Therefore, says James, those of you who gain wisdom, show it by your good conduct so that others can see how wisdom operates in humility.[12]

The Apostle Paul was also a great fan of wisdom. He told the Corinthians that because of Him you are in union with the Anointed One, Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.[13] And to the Colossians he wrote, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.[14] And to the Ephesians Paul cautioned them to look carefully then how you behave, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.[15]

So, as we can see, wisdom starts with acknowledging there is an all-wise God who is ready to guide and provide for all those who trust in His Word. King David said, only fools do not recognize and acknowledge that God exists.[16] And those who think that God’s Word is not the source of wisdom are in the same category. People like that are all talk and no action. When the Apostle Paul finished dictating his informative and instructive letter to the congregation in Rome, he finished it this way: All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen. When we are finished with our labors here on earth may we be able to say the same. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] 1 Kings 10:23

[2] Psalm 111:10

[3] Proverbs 1:7; Cf. 9:10; 15:33

[4] Ibid. 12:15

[5] Ibid. 19:20

[6] Ibid. 18:15

[7] Ibid. 2:6

[8] Ibid. 3:13-18

[9] Luke 21:15

[10] James 1:5

[11] Ibid. 3:17

[12] Ibid. 3:13

[13] 1 Corinthians 1:30

[14] Colossians 3:16

[15] Ephesians 5:15-17

[16] Psalm 14:1

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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