As a Pastor, I facilitate several conferences. During a Q&A session, someone asked me, “Is it right for Christians to protest against social issues?” I found this question insightful and took advantage of it to teach about Godly Wisdom and its value for Christians. Later, to satisfy my curiosity and prepare for our Bible trivia, I googled, “How many times is Wisdom mentioned in the Bible?”
Interestingly, the word “Wisdom” appears more than 200 times in the Bible, depending on the version you’re using. We see it appear 222 times in the Hebrew Bible, 234 times in KJV, and 219 in NIV. The Jews considered Wisdom a higher virtue, placing it alongside kindness and justice. Wisdom is essential for navigating life and indispensable to the modern Christian.
So, join me in exploring what the Bible teaches about Wisdom. I hope this article gives you a clearer understanding of the types and importance of Wisdom in your Christian walk.
What Is Wisdom in the Bible?
The Hebrew word for Wisdom is “Chokhmah,” which appears severally throughout the book of Proverbs and denotes the ability to keenly study reality and uncover its hidden truths. Chokhmah is the force behind creativity (psalm 104:24). The New Testament describes Wisdom as God’s gift to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8).
What does the Bible say about Wisdom?
Scripture is essential to attaining Wisdom
The longest chapter in the Bible references the value of studying Scripture in attaining Wisdom. For instance, in Psalms 119:verse 66, David ties good judgment to keeping God’s law. In Psalm 19:7, David refers to the Scriptures as the source of Wisdom for the simple.
God freely gives Wisdom
James, the half-brother of Jesus, is famous for teaching that anyone needing Wisdom should ask (James 1:5). We see this evident in King Solomon’s life. After ascending to power, God promised to give Solomon whatever he wanted. King Solomon requested Wisdom, and God made him the wisest man (1 Kings 3:8-13).
Wisdom is characterized by good conduct
Scholars refer to the Epistle of James as a guide to practical Christianity, and with good reason. After telling us how to get Wisdom, James teaches us what it means to walk in Wisdom. (James 3:17-18) He cites good behavior, humility, and peaceful coexistence as the hallmarks of Wisdom.
Examples of Wisdom in the Bible
As mentioned, there are over 200 references to Wisdom in the Bible. Here are ten to get you started on studying this fascinating topic.
- Proverbs 1:7 says that fools hate being instructed in Wisdom.
- Ecclesiastes 7:12 says that Wisdom gives life to those who possess it.
- Ecclesiastes 8:1 praises the wise person for his Wisdom.
- James 1:5 says that anyone in need of Wisdom should ask God.
- James 3:13-18 compares Earthly and Godly Wisdom.
- 1 Kings 3:28 narrates how Israel respected Solomon for the Wisdom he had.
- 1 Kings 10:23 says how Solomon surpassed all kings in Wisdom and riches.
- Job 12:13 ascribes Wisdom and strength to God.
- In Daniel 2:23, Daniel praises God for the gift of Wisdom.
- 1 Corinthians 12:8 lists Wisdom as a gift of the Spirit.
What is the purpose of Wisdom in the Bible?
Wisdom helps us make good decisions
We constantly make decisions about work, health, finances, and relationships. A mistake when making any of these decisions impacts you and those around you. As such, Wisdom is essential in making the right choices. King Solomon recognized this when he asked God for Wisdom to rule his people. He reiterates this in Proverbs 3. Here, he encourages his son to embrace Wisdom to navigate life safely.
Through Wisdom, we can enjoy an abundant life
Again, I draw from Solomon’s life for this one. He was both the wisest and wealthiest man of his time (1 Kings 4:30). Some scholars believe that being wise contributed to Solomon’s wealth. He traded with other nations and received gifts from visitors who came to consult him (1 Kings 10). However, wealth isn’t the only way Wisdom ties into an abundant life. Solomon also taught us that Wisdom lets us enjoy a deeper spiritual walk. He links Wisdom to the fear of God, which makes us submissive to God’s leading in embracing Wisdom (Proverbs 3:5-8).
Types of Wisdom in the Bible
According to James, bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition, and lies characterize Earthly Wisdom (James 3:13-16). Such Wisdom results in fights, quarrels, disorder, and all manner of evil because, at its core, Earthly Wisdom is fueled by pride. We should avoid this kind of Wisdom because it will only antagonize us from our neighbors and lead us further away from God’s truth.
James advises us to seek Godly Wisdom instead of Earthly Wisdom. This type is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive, merciful, and sincere (James 3:17-18). Godly Wisdom encourages righteousness to flourish in our lives, drawing us closer to God. Furthermore, Godly Wisdom glorifies God and edifies those around us.
Ways to get Wisdom according to the Bible
Embrace the fear of the Lord
As mentioned, you cannot separate Wisdom from the fear of God (Proverbs 1:7). You’re probably thinking, what does it mean to fear God? I cannot find a better explanation than what Phillip Melanchthon offered. Phillip was a companion of Luther during the protestant reformation. He classified fear into two: Filial and Servile fear.
Filial fear is akin to what a child feels towards his parents– a deep reverence that deters disobedience. In contrast, servile fear is what a prisoner feels for his jailer. It’s brought on by intimidation and the fear of punishment. Phillip believed the former is what Scripture meant by “fear the Lord.”
Embracing the fear of God puts us in submission to His will and readies us to receive and act on the Wisdom He gives us.
Be a student of the Scripture
This point ties in with the first. To fear God, we must know Him, and to know God, we must study His word. God ordained Scripture as a tool for instruction and doctrine (2 Tim 3:16). Through studying God’s word, we learn His will and gain Wisdom, which helps us navigate life successfully. Getting started is easy- read and meditate on a single chapter daily. Consistently do this, and you’ll discover, like many before you, the treasures hidden in God’s word (Psalm 19:7-11).
Desire Wisdom in your life
As you interact with God’s word, you’ll find an earnest desire to live out his will for your life. You’ll also find that it’s impossible without God’s help. This makes you an excellent candidate for the Holy Spirit’s gift of Wisdom in your life. The more you learn about God, the more you want to please Him. As this desire grows, so does the desire to make better choices, something impossible without Godly Wisdom.
Ask God for Wisdom
Finally, as James puts it, ask for Wisdom (James 1:5). God, being a loving father, will not deny anyone’s request for Wisdom. He gives Wisdom freely to anyone who asks.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.