A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty` - Prov.21.22.

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Wisdom and Understanding

Jewish Lords' Witness


This paper stems from my increasing perplexity at the behaviour of mankind. I understand mankind far less now than I thought I did as a younger man. Is this an early onset of my increasing dementia or do I now have a greater insight into true wisdom and now can see that we understand nothing that is not God-given? At least this seems to be in keeping with today’s astronomers who perceive that they do not understand what 96% of the universe is made of (https://www.space.com/11642-dark-matter-dark-energy-4-percent-universe-panek.html). In this respect I particularly like this link: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/this-is-what-we-done28099t-know-about-the-universe/. Perhaps this insight into one’s own ignorance of things (and that of astronomers?) is the starting place of true wisdom? Let us see how this notion of wisdom is supported or not by scripture.


I started out on this first section frankly uncertain as to what wisdom has to do with craftsmanship unless God only wanted the wise-hearted to make the holy garments and vessels. Or perhaps the simplicity of good craftmanship is a better reflection of God’s idea of wisdom than that of mankind’s?

2 And you shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty.
3 And you shall speak to all the wise-hearted whom I have filled with a spirit of wisdom; and they shall make the garments of Aaron to sanctify him for his serving as priest to Me. (Exodus 28 GLT)

It would seem that my notions, pertaining to craftsmanship, are fully substantiated a little further on in the book of Exodus:

1 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying:
2 Behold, I have called by name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, to the tribe of Judah.
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God in wisdom, and in intelligence, and in knowledge, and in all workmanship,
4 to devise designs, to work in gold and in silver and in bronze,
5 and in cutting of stones for finishings, and in carving of wood, to work in all workmanship.
6 And behold! I have given with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan; and in the heart of every wise-hearted one I have given wisdom; and they shall make all which I have commanded you: (Exodus 31 GLT)

35 He has filled them [with] wisdom of heart, to do every work of a smith, and an artisan, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in crimson, and in bleached [linen], and a weaver; doers of every work and devisers of designs. (Exodus 35 GLT)

Clearly this wisdom of heart gave righteous ones the strong desire to do God’s bidding in setting up these early artefacts for the purpose of true worship of God:

1 And Bezaleel and Aholiab shall work with everyone wise of heart to whom Jehovah has given wisdom and intelligence, to know how to do every work of the service of the sanctuary, concerning all which Jehovah had commanded. 
2 And Moses called to Bezaleel, and to Aholiab, and to everyone wise of heart, to whom Jehovah had given a heart of wisdom, everyone whose heart had lifted him up to come near the work, to do it. (Exodus 36 GLT)

21 And behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites shall be for all the service of the house of God. And with you in all work [shall be] every willing one with wisdom, for every service. And the rulers and all the people [shall be] according to all your words. (1 Chronicles 28 GLT)


True Wisdom in Man

We now come into more of the territory that I would have expected when I started this quest. Here Moses is extolling the virtues of the Jewish nation in following God’s laws and the wisdom this should demonstrate to the alien nations:

6 and you shall keep and do [them], for it shall be your wisdom and your understanding before the eyes of the peoples who hear all these statutes. And they shall say, This great nation [is] a people wise and understanding. (Deuteronomy 4 GLT)

This wisdom in keeping God’s laws was also entrusted at an individual level after Moses death:

9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. And the sons of Israel listened to him and did as Jehovah commanded Moses. (Deuteronomy 34 GLT)

And then we come to King Solomon as always confirming that the only true wisdom is that granted us from God starting with the blessing from his father, King David:

12 Only, may Jehovah give wisdom and understanding to you and command you as to Israel, even to keep the Law of Jehovah your God; (1 Chronicles 22 GLT)

9 Now, O Jehovah God, Your Word with my father David is confirmed, for You have made me to reign over a people as many as the dust of the earth.
10 Now give to me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this Your great people?
11 And God said to Solomon, Because this has been in your heart, that you have not asked riches, treasures, and honor, and the life of those who hate you, and also have not asked many days, but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may judge My people, over whom I have made you reign;
12 the wisdom and the knowledge [are] given to you, and riches, and treasures, and honor I will give to you, such as none of the kings who were before you has had, and after you it shall not be so. (2 Chronicles 1 GLT)

28 And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had judged, and feared from the face of the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God [was] in him to do judgment. (1 Kings 3 GLT)

29 And God gave Solomon exceeding great wisdom and understanding, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the lip of the sea.
30 And Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the sons of the east, and than all the wisdom of Egypt. (1 Kings 4 GLT)

Clearly there was a time when the nations acknowledged God’s wisdom. Alas that time is long since gone:

34 And there came [some] from all the people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4 GLT)

22 And King Solomon increased more than any of the kings of the earth for riches and wisdom.
23 And all the kings of the earth were seeking the face of Solomon, to hear his wisdom that God had put in his heart. (2 Chronicles 9 GLT)

3 And the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
4 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the standing of his ministers, and their clothing, and his cupbearers, and their clothing, and his burnt offerings that he offered up in the house of Jehovah; and there was no more spirit in her.
5 And she said to the king, The word that I heard in my land concerning your matters and concerning your wisdom is true.
6 But I had given no credence to their words, until I had come and my eyes had seen. And, behold, there was not declared to me half of the greatness of your wisdom. You exceeded the report that I heard.
7 Oh the happiness of your men, and the happiness of your servants, these who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom! (2 Chronicles 9 GLT)

This wisdom brought King Solomon physical as well as spiritual riches so I find myself wondering which of those riches were the nations truly interested in. Sorry for being so cynical. In the end of the day, however, physical riches are also blessings if they are God-given:

23 And King Solomon was greater than any of the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom;
24 and all the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom that God had put into his heart; (1 Kings 10 GLT)

Some time after Solomon’s reign Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, however, did not appear to fall into my cynical category in his giving the priest Ezra effective rulership over God’s people:

25 And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God in your hand, you appoint judges and magistrates who may judge all the people who [are] Beyond the River; all who know the laws of your God; and those who do not know, you cause to know. (Ezra 7 GLT)

What a pity that today’s world rulers do not follow the example of Artaxerxes instead of their own self-aggrandising, mindless, pathetic and damaging agendas!



I think that the Book of Job has much to say about the wisdom both of men and of God. Whilst I have already written a whole paper dedicated to the story of Job (Job), I did not spend a great deal of that paper discussing wisdom as a topic in its own right. Now is perhaps the opportunity to right that omission, so I present another facet to Job’s discourse with his companions. The first mention of wisdom comes with the description of man’s mortality in that death comes upon us all without our having achieved the wisdom of God within our lifetime:

21 Is not their tent cord pulled up within them? They die, but not with wisdom. (Job 4 GLT)

In Job’s responses to his companions, discussing his grieving, he feels unable to help himself and feels that any wisdom he had to deal with his situation had deserted him:

13 [Is] not my help within me? And is wisdom driven from me? (Job 6 GLT)

A little further on one of Job’s companions suggests that true wisdom belongs to God alone but that it is with God as to whom He should provide it:

1 And Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:
5 But who will grant that God would speak and open His lips against you,
6 and would tell you the secrets of wisdom, that counsel [is] double? Know then that God forgets some of your iniquity for you. (Job 11 GLT)

In response to Zophar’s counsel, Job has the following telling response:

1 And Job answered and said:
2 For truly you [are] the people, and wisdom will die with you.
12 With the aged [is] wisdom, and understanding in the length of days.
13 With Him is wisdom and strength; He has forethought and understanding.
16 With Him [is] strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are His. (Job 12 GLT)

It is not entirely clear to me whether Job is being sarcastic in his attitude to his companion’s council or not, but his message is crystal clear for our purposes. Even genuinely wise men die with their knowledge whereas God’s wisdom looms large and is everlasting and has grown over many aeons. A little later I think it becomes clearer that Job is not best pleased at the council his companions are providing since he seems to feel that they are ‘telling grandma to suck eggs’ in his grieving state and basically starts telling them that true wisdom should cause them to cease talking:

5 Oh that you would stop speaking entirely; and it would be your wisdom! (Job 13 GLT)

Not to be outdone, however, his companions’ speaking has not yet been silenced through Eliphaz, who seems to be suggesting that Job is adopting a ‘holier than thou’ attitude to his companions’ council:

8 Have you heard the secret counsel of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? (Job 15 GLT)

So far it does seem to me that they are all violently agreeing that true wisdom comes only from God, but are managing to insult each other in the process. We continue with a further insult from Job challenging any advice that they may have given to others compared with God’s wise council:

3 How have you advised [the ones] not wise or fully declared wise plans? (Job 26 GLT)

Job continues with his lengthy diatribe reaching his (and no doubt his companions’) ultimate conclusion that all wisdom is from God and God alone, measuring its value above all precious metals and stones:

12 But where shall wisdom be found? And where [is] the place of understanding?
18 Coral and rock crystal cannot be mentioned; yea, the getting of wisdom [is] above jewels.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot be ranked with it; it cannot be weighed against pure gold.
20 Where then does wisdom come from, and where [is] the place of understanding?
21 Yea, it is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the heavens;
28 And to man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom! And to turn from evil [is] understanding. (Job 28 GLT)

And then we have the quietly waiting wisdom that then emanates from the youngest member of that esteemed company proving that a man’s age is no indication of his level of wisdom:

6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I [am] young, and you [are] very aged; so I held back and was afraid to make my knowledge known to you.
7 I said, Days will speak, and many years will make wisdom known.
8 But it [is] a spirit in man giving them perception, even the breath of the Almighty.
9 [It is] not the great that are wise, nor the aged who perceive justice;
10 so then I say, Listen to me; I will declare my opinion, I also.
11 Behold, I waited for your words; I listened to your reasons while you searched out words;
12 yea, I paid attention to you, and behold, not one of you proved Job wrong, [nor] answered his sayings;
13 that you not say, We have discovered wisdom. [It is] God who will scatter him, not man. (Job 32 GLT)

It appears that Elihu was able to properly articulate that wisdom is with God and God alone in a way that seemed difficult for his companions and Job to state without their upsetting each other. However, he continued attacking Job’s words as well as those of his fellow companions:

35 Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words [were] without wisdom. (Job 34 KJV)

In response to all these aggravated human discussions, God clearly felt the need to intervene and speak to Job directly to confirm His being the sole source of true wisdom with the ability to provide or deny it to man and beast as He so chooses:

1 And Jehovah answered Job out of the tempest and said:
36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts; or who has given understanding to the mind?
37 Who can by wisdom number the clouds or who can lay down the jars of the heavens, (Job 38 GLT)

17 because God has made her forget wisdom; and He has not given to her a share in understanding.
26 Does the hawk soar from your understanding? Will he spread his wings toward the south? (Job 39 GLT)

Well I have just discovered that pretty much the whole of the Book of Job, chapters 4 to 39, are largely devoted to the topic of wisdom and where it stems from. I must be somewhat behind the curve on this Book compared with other bible commentators, but better late than never. Given that wisdom is also mentioned throughout the rest of the bible there can be no doubt that God is giving us a massive indication of how important it is to recognise true wisdom and, therefore, where any wisdom that we may have comes from to determine its true worth. It would seem therefore that my original thesis is correct, in that my acknowledging my own current lack of wisdom and understanding is perhaps my first true step towards that wisdom that I seek. Seeking that wisdom through prayer and the studying of God’s Word hopefully is the second step. Unfortunately our current physical and mortal coils continue to place boundaries to thwart our best spiritual efforts in that endeavour, but they should not prevent us from trying to reach that goal as best we can in this life.

One of the questions I have asked myself is how does the bible distinguish between wisdom and understanding? This question was sparked off by the following verse from Job which I could not quite get my head around:

28 And to man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom! And to turn from evil [is] understanding. (Job 28 GLT)                                                                                                  

Fortunately the following verse, which I earlier included in the previous chapter on Craftmanship, has given me the answer:

1 And Bezaleel and Aholiab shall work with everyone wise of heart to whom Jehovah has given wisdom and intelligence, to know how to do every work of the service of the sanctuary, concerning all which Jehovah had commanded. (Exodus 36 GLT)

It would seem that true wisdom in man is the acknowledgement that we need God’s input as to how we should live our lives as a matter of general principle. Once that is established we are then in a position to behave in specific ways according to the understanding that we gain from that wisdom. It seems that understanding comes with the knowledge to implement our God-given wisdom in practical ways.



Needless to say, the Book of Proverbs waxes lyrical on the subject of wisdom. Let us look at a selection of verses to see how they compare with those from the Book of Job. We do not have to go very far into the writings of King Solomon to get the gist of God’s wisdom:

2 To know wisdom and instruction; to discern the words of understanding;
3 to receive instruction in prudence, justice, and judgment, and uprightness;
4 to give sense to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young man.
5 The wise hears and increases learning, and the understanding ones gets wise counsel,
6 to understand a proverb and an enigma; the words of the wise, and their acute sayings.
7 The fear of Jehovah [is] the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1 GLT) 

As we have seen previously, Solomon confirms that the beginning of wisdom lies in our relationship to God. Also he says that wisdom is for all, regardless of our station in life: the simple-minded, the young, the wise and intelligent alike. God recognises that we all have different capabilities and experience but, if we seek true wisdom, then those differences are of no consequence in God’s eyes. God considers all those not seeking His wisdom to be fools and they will, no doubt, be dealt with appropriately at the proper time. 

Already I am finding it difficult to find which scriptures in Proverbs to select from that book of wisdom, so I am only looking for those for which I can find a specific meaning for myself and I hope, thereby, for my esteemed readers. This following passage hits several of my personal hot buttons: 

10 When wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 discretion shall keep you, understanding shall watch over you;
12 to deliver you from the evil way, from the man who speaks perverse things; (Proverbs 2 GLT) 

In consideration of verse 10 above, I find that developing this website to be one of the most pleasant aspects of my busy life. Why is that? Well as by now you will know that I mainly only write on topics from which I can gain substantial input from God’s Holy Word. So I suppose my wisdom is that I am looking to the good book to increase my knowledge and I thereby find the receiving of that knowledge very ‘pleasant to my soul’. 

In that regard, I had an interesting debate with our Church President, Gordon, recently in which we discussed whether it was appropriate for me to develop this website on the Sabbath. I started out by saying that I did not consider this to represent any kind of work since I found it so enjoyable and I gain no material reward for this activity. He agreed and we determined, based on the greater meanings of certain scriptures that, so long as I did not publish or distribute any of my new research on the Sabbath, then all other aspects of this activity would be allowable. 

Continuing with verses 11 and 12 above, I am finding that their promises are proving themselves invaluable to me in a very difficult personal situation with which I am currently having to deal. In that situation I am having to recognise when I am being lied to and when superficial argumentation is being used against me to attempt to deceive me into making what I know would be some incorrect decisions. While I am being effectively pilloried for making some unpopular (but to my mind correct) decisions, the discretion that I gain from God’s knowledge is helping me to stick to my guns against significant adversity. I do not think that I would have been capable of such a moral stand without that insight. 

Whilst arguing that all true wisdom is God-given, it would seem that some of us have that wisdom in-built into our very souls. The proud ones will suffer a fall, sooner or later, while those of us born humble of heart already have an inside track to God’s wisdom: 

2 Pride comes, then shame comes, but with the lowly [is] wisdom. (Proverbs 11 GLT) 

None of us are perfect and we do not know all the answers. Those who only consider their own council will not likely make too many correct decisions. By taking advice from others and from God we are much more likely to call it correctly, albeit correctly in God’s terms not man’s: 

15 The way of a fool [is] upright in his own eyes, but he who listens to advice [is] wise. (Proverbs 12 GLT) 

10 Argument only comes by pride, but wisdom [is] with those who take advice. (Proverbs 13 GLT) 

12 A scorner does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise.
14 The heart of the understanding one seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly.
31 The ear that hears the reproof of life shall remain among the wise.
32 He casting off correction despises his own soul, but he who hears reproof gets understanding.
33 The fear of Jehovah [is] instruction in wisdom, and before honor [is] humility. (Proverbs 15 GLT) 

20 Hear advice and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end. (Proverbs 19 GLT) 

Whilst it is the listening for advice that is the hallmark of those already wise, any valuable knowledge gained adds to that one’s heart condition: 

15 The heart of the prudent gets knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (Proverbs 18 GLT) 

17 Stretch your ear and hear the words of the wise, and set your heart to My knowledge, (Proverbs 22 GLT) 

Whilst I do not always abide by it, I well acknowledge that sleeping on a problem (if that problem allows a delayed reaction) is always beneficial. Whilst I sometimes still get it wrong, a delayed response is usually better considered than ‘shooting from the hip’. I have to say that I am a great believer that the Holy Spirit has a great influence over our sleep patterns. There have been many occasions when I have gone to bed with an apparently intractable issue which then appear to have a very obvious and simple fix when I awake in the morning. I suppose giving the Holy Spirit time to influence one’s reaction is certainly a wise consideration. I prefer the Young’s and KJV translations for the following verses respectively; whilst they are not the most literally correct translations, their meanings are crystal clear in today’s parlance: 

29 Whoso is slow to anger {is} of great understanding, And whoso is short in temper is exalting folly. (Proverbs 14 YLT) 

11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise [man] keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29 KJV) 

We can already see that the Book of Proverbs provides much of the same advice on the acquiring of wisdom and knowledge as in the Book of Job. We know from previous papers that when the Good Book states something several times that the point being made is pretty damned important, so the reader needs to take due note and try to act accordingly. So again, as in the Book of Job, we are told these acquisitions are worth far more than precious metals: 

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding [is] to be chosen above silver. (Proverbs 16 GLT) 

My previous paper on Expletives Deleted (
Expletives Deleted) also contains some similar messages; it would seem that true wisdom and knowledge pervade all God’s Words, as indeed one would expect: 

27 He who restrains his words knows knowledge, and [one] cool of spirit [is] a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool who [is] silent is counted wise, he who shuts his lips [is counted as] discerning. (Proverbs 17 GLT) 

Proverbs chapter 24 draws a very nice symbolised development from wisdom through understanding to knowledge based on a new house build. Wisdom provides the ability and desire to build the house in the first place. Understanding enables the house to be firmly established through a strong build and pleasant design. Knowledge ensures that good quality furnishings and merchandise shall fill each room to provide a pleasant ambience. Wisdom enables a man to seek understanding of the world(s) around him to provide the knowledge that he seeks to do God’s will: 

3 Through wisdom a house is built, and it is established by understanding,
4 and by knowledge the inner parts shall be filled with precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24 GLT) 


Other Scriptures – Old Testament

Well clearly the Book of Proverbs, unsurprisingly, contains much insight into the value of true wisdom. Let us examine a miscellany of other scriptural books, from the Old Testament, to determine if there is much more contained about this highly important commodity in the Good Book.

One of the things I have never understood about the behaviour of mankind is its response to our unbuilt mortality. We go chasing riches and strive after vanity without consideration that it all turns to dust in the end. Others of course will argue that we might as well get all that we can materially while we can. This latter view seems to carry the day in this world and clearly represents the ungodly view of what life is about without any consideration that there just may be rather more meaning to our pathetic existences than meets the eye. Psalms says all that is necessary for me on this in a single verse:

12 So teach us to number our days, so that we may bring a heart of wisdom. (Psalms 90 GLT)

Now this next scripture I like also. If we must have vanity about something, let it be in our understanding and knowledge of Jehovah and His ways:

23 So says Jehovah, Do not let the wise glory in his wisdom, and do not let the mighty glory in his might. Do not let the rich glory in his riches.
24 But let him who glories glory in this, that [he] understands and knows Me, that I [am] Jehovah, doing kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for I delight in these, says Jehovah. (Jeremiah 9 GLT) 

In the matter of interpreting the king’s dream, Daniel certainly acknowledged where his own wisdom came from: 

20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might [are] His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He causes kings to pass away, and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who know understanding.
22 He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what [is] in the darkness, and the light dwells in Him.
23 I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers, who has given me wisdom and might, and has made me know what we ask of You. For You have revealed to us the king's matter. (Daniel 2 GLT) 

And there is another nice summing up in the final verse in the Book of Hosea. Here the linkage from true wisdom through understanding to knowledge is once again drawn and their leading to righteousness: 

9 Who [is] wise and discerns these things? [Who is] discerning and knows them? For the ways of Jehovah are right, and the righteous shall walk in them; but transgressors shall stumble in them. (Hosea 14 GLT) 


Other Scriptures – New Testament

Well let us start out as we mean to continue when we are told by Christ that to carry out His instructions for life are the very essence of wisdom: 

24 Then everyone who hears these Words from Me, and does them, I will compare him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; (Matthew 7 GLT) 

And this directed at His 1st Century disciples in making their positions known to the powers that be: 

15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all those opposing you will not be able to withstand or contradict. (Luke 21 GLT) 

I have to say, however, when arguing God’s corner, I do often feel that my words are not having this desired effect. It usually seems to be case that, if I am speaking to those who will not hear, then any God-given wisdom that I may have is treated by them as ‘pearls before swine’. Perhaps that is the point. Anyone who is receptive will see the wisdom in the words of a believer. 

After Christ’s resurrection, Paul continued to preach the gospel, praying that God may provide His wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment to the Ephesian congregation: 

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in [the] full knowledge of Him,
18 the eyes of your mind having been enlightened, for you to know what is the hope of His calling, and what [are] the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1 GLT) 

15 Then watch how carefully you walk, not as unwise, but as wise ones, (Ephesians 5 GLT) 

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expands on true knowledge and understanding by confirming that one’s love will grow on that God-given foundation: 

9 And this I pray, that your love may yet abound more and more in full knowledge and all perception, (Philippians 1 GLT) 

These messages are reconfirmed in his letter to the Colossians: 

2 that their hearts may be comforted, being joined together in love, and to all riches of the full assurance of the understanding, to [the] full knowledge of the mystery of God, even of [the] Father and of Christ,
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge. (Colossians 2 GLT) 

He makes particular mention of how a Christian’s God-given wisdom needs to be on display as an example to non-believers when engaging with them: 

5 Walk in wisdom toward the ones outside, redeeming the time.
6 Let your word [be] always with grace, having been seasoned with salt, to know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4 GLT) 

Now the following passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian congregation caught my attention. Firstly he states that the gospel of Christ crucified is foolishness to the unbelieving Greeks but goes on to confirm that Christ represents the wisdom of His father Jehovah. He then confirms that the foolish things of the world actually represent God’s true wisdom. The one verse that I find myself struggling with is verse 25 where the foolish thing of God is deemed wiser than men. Now while I can see that this is merely a comparison of God’s wisdom with that of mankind, it nonetheless seems to indicate that God can also suffer from divine foolishness. Now quite what that might look like I cannot quite imagine, but it does suggest that even a God can have a laugh occasionally? 

23 we, on the other hand, preach Christ crucified (truly an offense to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks),
24 but to the called ones, both to Jews and to Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God;
25 because the foolish thing of God is wiser [than] men, and the weak thing of God is stronger [than] men.
26 For you see your calling, brothers, that [there are] not many wise according to flesh, nor many powerful, not many wellborn.
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world that the wise might be put to shame, and God chose the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things. (1 Corinthians 1 GLT) 

Paul goes on, in the second chapter, to further compare man’s wisdom with that of God. We are reminded that the wisdom of men will die with them whereas the wisdom of God was in place aeons before mankind walked the earth: 

4 And my word and my preaching [was] not in enticing words of human wisdom, but in proof of [the] Spirit and of power,
5 that your faith might not be in [the] wisdom of men, but in [the] power of God.
6 But we speak wisdom among the perfect, but not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, those being brought to nothing.
7 But we speak [the] wisdom of God in a mystery, having been hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, (1 Corinthians 2 GLT) 

That wisdom is received from the Holy Spirit to which unbelieving man is not privy: 

13 Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in [Words] taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual [things].
14 But a natural man does not receive the things of [the] Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2 GLT) 

And God’s view of the worldly wise is made crystal clear in the third chapter: 

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks to be wise among you in this age, let him become foolish, that he may become wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it has been written, "He takes the wise in their own craftiness." [Job 5:13]
20 And again, "[The] Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are worthless." [LXX-Psa. 93:11; MT-Psa. 94:11] (1 Corinthians 3 GLT) 

And what better way is there to end this section on New Testament scriptures on wisdom than by looking at a few verses from the letter written by Jesus’ own brother who describes all the positive qualities stemming from true wisdom: 

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God, [who] gives to all freely and with no reproach, and it will be given to Him. (James 1 GLT) 

13 Who [is] wise and knowing among you? Let him show his works by [his] good behavior, in meekness of wisdom.
17 But the wisdom from above is firstly truly pure, then peaceable, forbearing, yielding, full of mercy and of good fruits, not partial and not pretended. (James 3 GLT)



So it would seem that we have gone full circle albeit round a very small circuit. True wisdom can only be God-given. All else is men’s foolishness. This is an oft repeated theme in many bible verses and would therefore seem to be one of the main planks of a righteous man’s way of life: to seek help and advice from the bible and from prayer to the one true God. So, as I supposed at the beginning of this exercise, we understand very little without God’s help. The astronomers’ 4% sounds about right to me! So yes for me personally, and I think for us all, the beginning of wisdom in our old age (if not before!) is the realisation that we actually have very little of our own. Amen.

​Date of Publication: 9th May 2018