Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #350 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Proverbs 1 today and our focus is on wisdom, how does the Bible define wisdom – What is the Biblical definition of wisdom?  We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in .   Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

During our Old Testament time for the remainder of the year, we will be spending time in Proverbs, rather than Psalms and seeking to acquire more wisdom from the Word. Proverbs are sayings of wisdom, most of which were written down by King Solomon, son of David, The first few verses of Proverbs outlines the purpose of the entire book:

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
For learning wisdom and discipline;
for understanding insightful sayings;
for receiving prudent instruction
in righteousness, justice, and integrity;
for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced,
knowledge and discretion to a young man—
let a wise person listen and increase learning,
and let a discerning person obtain guidance—
for understanding a proverb or a parable,
the words of the wise, and their riddles.

I especially love vs. 5 – Let a wise person listen to these Proverbs and GROW in wisdom. Reading through Proverbs, and absorbing what you read, will most certainly increase your wisdom and you will have increased learning AND obtain guidance. This is a most profitable book to read.

A first principle on wisdom we need to understand is that Wisdom comes from GOD AND HIS WORD (not from within):

Proverbs 2:6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
  Deuteronomy 4: 5 Look, I have taught you statutes and ordinances as the Lord my God has commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to possess. 6 Carefully follow them, for this will show your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples. When they hear about all these statutes, they will say, ‘This great nation is indeed a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has a god near to it as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to him? 8 And what great nation has righteous statutes and ordinances like this entire law I set before you today?

SO many people in social media, and in movies and shows (especially Disney tv shows and such) spout the message: Be yourself – Believe in yourself. It is one of the great bits of worldly wisdom out there. Unfortunately, it is utterly opposite a biblical worldview:  Proverbs 28:26 The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.

One of the wisest things you can do is to accept a wise warning and respond to it. Many people scoff when they are warned of something – it tends to be a habit of youth, to scoff when somebody gives you a warning – I know I did that several times – but if you wish to be wise, then listen carefully when somebody – especially somebody wise – warns you about something. Consider:

Wisdom calls out in the street;
she makes her voice heard in the public squares.
21 She cries out above the commotion;
she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:
22 “How long, inexperienced ones, will you love ignorance?
How long will you mockers enjoy mocking
and you fools hate knowledge?
23 If you respond to my warning,
then I will pour out my spirit on you
and teach you my words. Proverbs 1:20-23 

That is a great promise – when we respond to wise words of warning, then we will gain more wisdom and a greater measure of the spirit of wisdom. When we don’t take heed to wise words of warning,then something tragic happens:

24 Since I called out and you refused,
extended my hand and no one paid attention,
25 since you neglected all my counsel
and did not accept my correction,
26 I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity.
I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when trouble and stress overcome you.
28 Then they will call me, but I won’t answer;
they will search for me, but won’t find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge,
didn’t choose to fear the Lord,
30 were not interested in my counsel,
and rejected all my correction, Proverbs 1:24-30

If we spurn and ignore wise words of wisdom from the Word of God, then we should expect to be spurned as well – a heartbreaking outcome.

So, what is wisdom, anyway? What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge? The Bible never gives us an exact definition, but does give us several pointers, such as:

If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.  Ecclesiastes 10:10

So, in this case, wisdom is akin to knowing to sharpen your axe when cutting wood.

The sensible person’s wisdom is to consider his way, but the stupidity of fools deceives them. Proverbs 14:8

Wisdom here is the sense to plan and be thoughtful about things, and not make rash decisions.

Arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10

Wisdom LISTENS and takes advice; arrogance goes its own way, and leads to trouble.

Wisdom is found with the elderly, and understanding comes with long life. Job 12:12

According to Job, wisdom comes from age and experience and living a long life.

So then, wisdom is more than knowledge – it could be said that wisdom is knowing the right thing to do with knowledge. Wisdom begins with fearing the Lord – why there? Because one who fears the Lord will OBEY Him, and obeying God’s Word IS wisdom and will bring wisdom

Wisdom is thoughtful, sensible, careful and listens to wise counsel – especially wise counsel from those who are older.

I like how John Newton defines wisdom:

Wisdom is the knowledge of what is fitting and best to be done under existing relations and circumstances. It is the discovery of the fit and the useful, and the avoiding of the unsuitable and injurious. Wisdom is ever attended with singular advantages, and of consequence, how to obtain it, ought to be among our first, and most solicitous enquiries.

Joseph Lyman and Roger Newton, The Advantages and Praises of Wisdom. A Sermon, Delivered at Deerfield,—Jan 1, A.D. 1799, at the Opening of the Academy in That Town, Early American Imprints, 1639-1800; No. 35750 (Greenfield Mass.: Francis Barker, 1799), 6.

Spurgeon says the first lesson in wisdom is:

a knowledge of our own ignorance. He cannot learn aright who has not first been taught that he knows nothing. It is a good thing for a man to feel that he is only beginning to learn, and to be willing to submit his heart to the teachings of God’s Spirit, that he may be guided in everything by Him. The prayer of the quickened soul is, “Teach thou me.” We become as little children when God begins to deal with us…Have you ever noticed how the clean heart always mourns its uncleanness; and the wise man always laments his folly? It needs holiness to detect our own unholiness, and it needs wisdom to discover our own folly. When man talks of his own cleanness, his very lips are foul with pride; and when a man boasts of his wisdom, he proclaims his folly with trumpet sound.

Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Notes (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 857.

C. H. Spurgeon, Gleanings Among the Sheaves (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1869), 123.

And then Charles Spurgeon defines wisdom as:

Wisdom is better than knowledge, for wisdom is knowledge rightly used. Knowledge may find room for folly, but wisdom casts it out. Knowledge may be the horse, but wisdom is the driver. When a man hath knowledge it is like the corn which is laid in the barn; but wisdom is the fine flour prepared for food. We want Christian people not only to know, but to use what they know. Happy is he who knows what to do at the right time! Many people are very knowing half an hour after it is too late; but to be filled with wisdom is to be able at once to apply knowledge rightly in difficult cases. Wisdom enables you to bring your knowledge practically to bear upon life, to separate between the precious and the vile, to deal with your fellow Christians in their different conditions, and to deal with sinners and those that are without. You need wisdom so to conduct your affairs that nothing therein shall scandalize the weak, or bring dishonour upon the name of Christ; for mere knowledge will not suffice for this. Knowledge is the blade, wisdom is the full corn in the ear. Knowledge is the cloth, but wisdom is the garment. Knowledge is the timber, but wisdom hath builded her house. May all our knowledge be sanctified by grace and attended with the guidance of the Spirit that we may become wise to know what the will of the Lord is.

C. H. Spurgeon, “Spiritual Knowledge and Its Practical Results,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 29 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1883), 535.


Bible Memory passage for the month of December: Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Church in North Salinas, California.

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