Throughout the ages, man has attempted to define wisdom or to create a pithy statement illustrating its value.
- Wisdom is the ability (skill) to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.
- A basic definition of wisdom is the judicious application of knowledge understood. The opposite of wisdom is folly. Synonyms include prudence, sagacity, discernment, or insight.
- “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” –Confucius
- “Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.”—Bob Marley
By definition, mysteries are difficult to understand. Our Heavenly Father has revealed His manifold wisdom in the Scriptures, but only in a mystery. The entire body of knowledge (all truth) has been revealed through his knowledge of all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), but not everyone can understand that knowledge since it is in the form of a mystery (1 Cor. 2:6-7).
Even the apostles were frustrated by the mystery but were thankful to understand snippets of truth, while Jesus spoke to them shortly before his ascension into heaven. Because they desired to know why he spoke in parables to the multitude, Jesus explained that the parables were so they would hear and not understand (Matt. 13:10-16). He then explained the process. He gave the multitudes knowledge of the mystery, but not understanding. Therefore, as soon as the knowledge entered their hearts Satan was there to quickly remove that knowledge (Matt. 13:19). Yet there were those who did understand (Matt. 13:23). Immediately they bore good fruit. By this, Jesus made it clear to the apostles that knowledge was of little value without understanding. At the same time, without knowledge there can be no understanding. We must gain knowledge first, and seek understanding to that knowledge. As David taught his son Solomon, wisdom is the principle thing, but with all his getting he needed understanding too.
So where does wisdom enter this picture? When comparing knowledge, understanding and wisdom, one can see that he must begin with knowledge and gain understanding of that knowledge before he can attain to wisdom. The application of knowledge together with understanding brings wisdom. Can wisdom be defined as skill in using knowledge and understanding? Hebrew definitions of wisdom (h 2449; h2450; h2451) include: —intelligence, skill or artfulness. Using knowledge and understanding as a foundation, Wisdom applies justice, judgment and equity in everything she does. Although there may also be other less obvious passages where she speaks, Proverbs 8:1-9:6 is Wisdom calling to men.
Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it (Pro. 8:6-11).
“I wisdom dwell with prudence…” (Pro. 8:12).