Just what is wisdom? Many people think that wisdom and knowledge mean the same and can be used interchangeably. But that is not accurate.
Wisdom begins when we fear the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 states "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." The word fear in this scripture does not mean that we are to be afraid of God – for example, if we do something that is wrong, it does not mean then He will strike us with lightning.
It means instead that we are to love, honor and respect God. In order to have wisdom, we must love, honor and respect God. When we do, we walk in obedience to what God says we should do and say.
Proverbs 2:6 states that “the Lord gives wisdom & out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” When the Lord speaks, there is knowledge given to us. And, this has knowledge been written down in the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word. As a result, reading the Bible - learning what the Lord has said - will give us knowledge.
Knowledge is also gained by learning and studying. When we go to school, if we want to earn good grades, we read and study. In other words, we gain knowledge, whether that knowledge is in geography, science or math for example. So all our knowledge is in our heads – facts & information that we have collected over many, many years.
But how do we get wisdom? As I mentioned, Proverbs 2:6 states that God gives us wisdom. In other words, as we study the Bible and gain knowledge, God gives us the inside explanation of what His Word really means. He gives us the inside ability and direction to figure things out – not using our natural minds, but being led by Him.
The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon once wrote:
“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
A person can have a lot of knowledge but not have the wisdom of God. James 3:17 states: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
How then do we get wisdom? It comes from heaven or God. According to James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” You might say to yourself – Is it that simple to get wisdom? Just ask God? Yes, but of course you have to believe that God will give it to you. You must have faith!