Proverbial Proverbs: Wisdom

When it comes to wisdom, the Bible contains some mixed messages. In Proverbs, wisdom is highly commended. The basic message: get some wisdom; it's awesome. Proverbs 4:6-7 is a nice example: "Do not forsake wisdom, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight." 

One point for wisdom!

Ecclesiastes, though, is less certain on wisdom. Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 states, "I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." 

Oh no! Strike one for wisdom!

I tend to think learning in nearly all forms is really fabulous, so I am more or less a major "wisdom" advocate. Let's go, Lady Wisdom! (Bonus: wisdom if very often personified in the feminine.)

Hmmmm. So what does Jesus say about wisdom?

Well, he says surprisingly little! The word "wisdom" isn't even used in the Gospel of John! It just wasn't a major theme for Jesus. When it is used in the Gospels, it's often in reference to crowds commenting on the depth of wisdom Jesus had. 

So where is wisdom mentioned most frequently?
-1 Corinthians

I was surprised!  1 Corinthians came in 3rd place! It's really mentioned a lot in that book. Paul's thoughts in 1 Corinthians could be summarized like this: Human wisdom stinks. Don't trust it. Only trust God and God's wisdom (which to Paul, is most centrally revealed in Christ's death and resurrection).  

So what's the final verdict on wisdom? 

I like it. In fact, I love it. Maybe the kind of wisdom I'm drawn to most is the wisdom of God. It's all God, right? Learning about people: God's wisdom. Learning about creation: God's wisdom. Learning about the way the brain works: God's wisdom. Learning about literature and poetry, history and science: it's all God. Learning about forgiveness: God's wisdom. Holy wisdom, holy Word. 

Soak it up, folks. There's wisdom dripping all over everything. It's everywhere. 

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