By John C. Carpenter
King Solomon instructs us about the very valuable topic of wisdom: Hear, ye children, the
instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father's
son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep
my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not,
and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all
thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings;
and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths (Proverbs 4:1-11).
DEFINITION OF WISDOM
What is wisdom, and what do the scriptures tell us about it? In verse 5, the word wisdom is translated from
the Hebrew word chokmah, which means exceeding, skillful, wisdom in a good sense, intelligent, judicial, wisely, or wit. Websters
new collegiage dictionary defines wisdom as accumulated philosophic or scientific learning, whereas Ungers Bible Dictionary defines
wisdom as dexterity or skill in an art, skillful to judge, or endued with reason and using it. The KJV Dictionary defines wisdom as
the right use or exercise of knowledge, the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them.
THE ONE SOURCE
Now that we have some idea of what wisdom is, we should ask the question, where and how do we get wisdom? The
scriptures give us a clear answer. In the book of proverbs, we read, So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart
to understanding;Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and
searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD
giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:2-6). James, the servant of God, wrote, If any of you
lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5). After
accurately and fully interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel gave complete credit and glory to God: Daniel answered and said,
Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth
kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep
and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God
of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made
known unto us the king's matter (Daniel 2:20-23). According to scriptures, wisdom clearly and only comes from God the Father, and
if we desire wisdom, we are to ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally. So, what do the scriptures say about wisdom? What are
some of the characteristics of wisdom?
SOME QUALITIES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF WISDOM
The scriptures also identify for us
some of the aspects or characteristics of wisdom. There are so many, it is impossible to identify all of them, but let us examine
a few important ones. First of all, wisdom is described as being more valuable than gold. As Solomon declares, How much better is
it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! (Proverbs 16:16). The instruction of the Lord
is better than silver, wisdom and knowledge better than choice gold (Proverbs 8:10), wisdom is also better than rubies, and and all
the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it [wisdom] (Proverbs 8:11). The psalmist teaches us that fearing the Lord
and obedience are characteristic of wisdom and understanding: The fear [Hebrew, yirah, to morally reverence] of the LORD is the beginning
of wisdom: a good understanding [knowledge, prudence, sense] have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever (Psalms
Wisdom also causes us to have proper life perspective: Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better
than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this (Ecclesiastes 7:10). Wisdom can and should guide our interactions with
those outside of the faith. Paul wrote the church in Colossae, Walk in wisdom toward them that are without [the faith or church],
redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Colossians
4:5-6). Wisdom leads us to listen to others, and to respond with humility, which is beneficial: A wise son heareth his father's instruction:
but a scorner heareth not rebuke (Proverbs 13:1), and Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom (Proverbs
13:10). Godly, heavenly wisdom is not the same as human, worldly wisdom, and those who possess only worldly wisdom are deceived and
in danger. The apostle Paul explained, Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him
become a fool [to worldly wisdom], that he may be wise [in the ways of God]. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness (1 Corinthians 3:18-19).
Another characteristic of wisdom is that
the Lord considers those to be wise who hear the words and commandments of Christ, and obey them. The Lord explained to His disciples,Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a
rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded
upon a rock (Matthew 7:24-25). Having the proper perspective on life, that is, humbly recognizing that our lives are fleeting and
short lived, motivates us to seek wisdom. The psalmist explains with these words: So teach us to number [weigh out, allot, enumerate] our
days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Psalms 90:12). Solomon, probably the wisest man to ever live, teaches us that wisdom
brings humility. Through Solomon, God said, when pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). Solomon
also teaches that when we have wisdom, we shall fear the Lord: The fear [moral reverence] of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom;
and before honour is humility (Proverbs 15:33). Similarly, the wise in heart [humbly] accept commands, but a chattering [arguing] fool
comes to ruin (Prov 10:8). In these verses, Solomon clearly exhorts us to pursue and accept the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord:The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken
up, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not them [the wisdom and knowledge of God] depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom
and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall
not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid
of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy
foot from being taken (Proverbs 3:19-26).
Another characteristic of wisdom is that the wise befriend the wise. In proverbs, we
read, He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20). Those who understand
the value of wisdom pursue those who have wisdom. Holy scriptures also teach that keeping the law and statutes of the Lord bring wisdom:The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple [Hebrew, pethiy, silly,
foolish, easily deceived, enticed] (Psalms 19:7). The apostle James instructs us that a good life and humble deeds reflect a person
with wisdom and understanding can come only from above and from God: Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him
shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory
not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and
strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy
to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown
in peace of them that make peace (James 3:13-18). The scriptures also associate old age with wisdom, understanding, strength, and
meaningful counsel: With the ancient [old man, gray haired] is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom andstrength, he hath counsel and understanding (Job 12:12-13). We should also know that wisdom also brings much sorrow and grief (Eccles
1:17-18), and fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov 1:7).
Another characteristic of wisdom is that the wisdom of men is
inferior to the wisdom of God. Paul explains, ...the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than
men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But
God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound
the things which are mighty (1 Corinthians 1:25-27). Then Paul adds that Christ became God's wisdom for us: But of him are ye in Christ
Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom [clarity of sight], and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians
1:30). Solomon also instructs us that the exercising of restraint is a symptom of one who has wisdom: A fool uttereth all his mind:
but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards (Proverbs 29:11). Solomon also says that the wise are avoided by those who resent and
reject correction: A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise (Proverbs 15:12), and that wisdom
is reflected in those who accept advice and discipline: Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter
end (Proverbs 19:20).
Throughout the holy scriptures, we can see that wisdom brings happiness (Prov 3:13), long life, riches,
and honor (Prov 3:16), peace (Prov 3:17), safety (Prov 3:23), a stumble free walk (Prov 3:23), freedom from anxiety (Prov 3:24), sweet
sleep (Prov 3:24), protection (Prov 3:25), confidence (Prov 3:26), promotion (Prov 4:8), and healing and health (Prov 4:22). Now that
we understand wisdom to some degree, and have examined some of its characteristics, let us look at the fruit of wisdom. What are some
of the benefits of wisdom, and how does it help us?
SOME FRUITS OF WISDOM
The values, benefits, and fruit of wisdom are
limitless. We have room to mention some of its' fruits, but with a careful review of the scriptures we can find many more. For now,
let us examine some of the more valuable fruits of wisdom.
First of all, the use of wisdom leads to good things: He that getteth
wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good [Hebrew, tob, beautiful, best, bountiful, favour, gladness,
grace, loving, pleasing, prosperity, sweet, or welfare] (Proverbs 19:8). Wisdom leads to humility and good works, resulting in a good
life. James explained, Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works withmeekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom
descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits,
without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:12-18).According to the scriptures, wisdom also improves the quality and quantity of life: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased (Proverbs
9:10-11). Wisdom in our children results in good fruit. Solomon teaches, A wise [cunning, subtle, intelligent, skillful, wise hearted] son
maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother (Proverbs 10:1).
Solomon mentions another benefit or fruit
of seeking and accepting God's wisdom: Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health [a cure,
healing] to thy navel [strength to withstand our enemy], and marrow [moisture, refreshment] to thy bones [the body, strength, and
life] (Proverbs 3:7-8). Seeking and accepting God's wisdom, instruction, and direction not only brings physical and spiritual healing
and health, but complete refreshing as well. Solomon tells us that happy and full of life is the man or woman who finds Godly wisdom:Happy is the man that findeth [Godly] wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the
merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire
are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth
her (Proverbs 3:13-18).
Another fruit of wisdom is God's deliverance, which is made available to those who possess the wisdom
of God: He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered (Proverbs 28:26). We also find
that authority figures respond favorably to the wise individual: The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against
him that causeth shame (Proverbs 14:35). Those who are in less prominent positions can have the greater influence on the circumstances
because of their wisdom: A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among
the brethren (Proverbs 17:2). Wisdom also strengthens and directs you to deal effectively with opposition: A wise man scaleth the
city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof (Proverbs 21:22), as well as, Wisdom is better than weapons
of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good (Ecclesiastes 9:18).
Wisdom leads to discretion, understanding, and deliverance from
evil. As Solomon taught, When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve
thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who
leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth
with her words (Proverbs 2:10-16).
WISDOM IS THE PRINCIPAL THING; THEREFORE GET WISDOM
Writing to the church in Ephesus,
the apostle Paul summarized the most valuable benefit of wisdom: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus,
and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding
being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought
in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality,
and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath
put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that
filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:15-23). Our prayer for believers and unbelievers alike should be that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory, may give unto us all the spirit and wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
The apostle Paul gives
us possibly the best biblical definition available. Paul instructs us, See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians
5:15-17). In these verses, the point is that the unwise do not know and understand the will of the Lord, whereas those who are wise
understand what the will of the Lord is in our own life circumstances. As mentioned earlier, the Lord considers those to be wise who
hear the words and commandments of Christ, and obey them. The Lord explained to His disciples, Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24-25).
must not only be desired, but sought after as well. Look what the scriptures teach: Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice
in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,
How long, ye simple ones, will ye [reject my counsel and continue to] love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning,
and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel,
and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation,
and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not
answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled
with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso
hearkeneth unto me [and seeks the understanding and wisdom I have] shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil (Proverbs
1:20-33). When we seek and listen to God and the wisdom He offers, we experience His safety and protection.
As we have seen,
wisdom comes only from God the Father. However, the scriptures also teach us that when we ask God for wisdom, we must ask with proper
motivations and a pure heart and mind [from God's viewpoint]. For example, Solomon prayed to God, Give me now wisdom and knowledge,
that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because
this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked
long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom
and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have
been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like (2 Chronicles 1:10-12).
The scriptures also teach us that
one of the most important characteristics of wisdom is that it is correlated with life: For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence:
but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it (Ecclesiastes 7:12). Elsewhere, wisdom is described
as a tree [Hebrew, ets, a tree from its firmness, plank, staff, timber, wood] of life [Hebrew, chay, age, alive, fresh, multitude,
strong] to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her (Proverbs 3:18).
As we have seen in our subject
verses, Solomon teaches us that wisdom is the most excellent thing, that we should desire it, as well as ask God for it: When wisdom
entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion [Hebrew, mezimmah, a good plan, good intent, clever
invention] shall preserve [Hebrew, shamar, to hedge about, guard, protect, attend to, regard, save, watch over] thee, understanding
shall keep [guard, protect, maintain] thee (Proverbs 2:10-11). Solomon then concludes with these very powerful words: Wisdom is the
principal [Hebrew, reshiyth, first in place, time, order, or rank, chief, most excellent] thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all
thy getting get understanding. AMEN.