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  • Writer's pictureRick Appleton


If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. By wisdom we exercise judgment between good and evil. It has both theoretical and practical parts. In order to make good decisions, we must have knowledge and understanding of what is good. But wisdom does not consist of merely knowing things. It’s possible to have knowledge without wisdom. Wisdom includes applying, or using, what we know to choose what is good. Here we can see that wisdom involves both the intellect and the will. For example, a man can know that drunkenness is bad. But unless he combines that knowledge with the choice to avoid drunkenness, he’s not really exercising wisdom.  The goodness of sobriety is not found in knowing that sobriety is good. The goodness of sobriety is found in being sober. Thus, we can see that knowledge apart from use is useless.  

In Deuteronomy 4:5-6, Moses says, “I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore, be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom…” Here we see both the theoretical and practical parts of wisdom. The theoretical part is the knowledge of God’s revelation, “the statutes and judgements”. The practical part is acting, “according to them” and being “careful to observe them”. Combining the right knowledge with the right action is “your wisdom”.

Here then, are two indispensable things for true wisdom: (1) knowing God’s will; and (2) using that knowledge to do God’s will. If we are ignorant of God’s will, we lack the precepts upon which wisdom is founded. Knowledge of God’s will comes from God’s word, “the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). If you want to know what is good and acceptable for God; then you must learn it from God. This means hearing and meditating upon the word of God in the holy Scriptures. But don’t stop there! Take the truths that God teaches you and put them to use in your thinking, feeling, and doing. That’s true wisdom.

Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom (Colossians 2:3) says,“Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man…” (Matthew 7:24). It may be bad to be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 26:12); but it must be good to be wise in Christ’s eyes.


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