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Sunday, 27 December 2009

Knowledge, or Wisdom?

Well, that's Christmas over for another year! By the next time it is celebrated - if the Lord Jesus hasn't returned, and if we haven't died from accident, disease, or old age - we will all be a full year older. But will we be any wiser? "Now there's the rub" - to quote Hamlet in a slightly different context!

There are those, of course, who confuse wisdom with knowledge. Yet these are, in fact, different concepts. Knowledge can be gained simply by soaking up information - by reading, attending classes/lectures, completing courses in either academic or practical subjects. It is perfectly possible, however, to have a lot of knowledge, but very little wisdom! I'm not sure how universally-accepted it would be (but please feel free to leave a comment!) but, some years ago, I came up with the 'definition': "Knowledge is what I know; wisdom is the proper, and useful, application of what I know!"

Wisdom may be gained through experience. I may learn how to apply my knowledge - however little, or much - by applying it! But wisdom is also a gracious gift of Almighty God to those who are His children. The Scriptures are full of such instance:

"God gave Solomon great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge too vast to be measured." (I Kings 4:29);

"Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to those who have lived many years. But true wisdom and power are with God; counsel and understanding are His." (Job 12:12-13);

"For YHWH grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Prov.2:6);

"God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please Him." (Eccl. 2:26);

"YHWH Adonai has given me His words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning He wakens me and opens my understanding to His will." (Is.50:4);

"... the child [Jesus] grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom beyond His years, and God placed His special favour upon Him." (Luke 2:40);

"... don't worry about how to answer the charges against you, for I [Jesus] will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply!" (Luke 21:14-15);

"[God] has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding." (Eph.1:8);

"If you need wisdom - if you want to know what God wants you to do - ask Him, and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking." (James 1:5);

"... the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere." (James 3:17);

"... remember, the Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved. This is just as our beloved brother Paul wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him ..." (II Peter 3:15);

"Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever. Amen!" (Rev.7:12).

I reckon that that's enough to provide a good Bible Study as we approach the new year! Doing so may well see us increase in Godly wisdom - and thus be enabled to be better witnesses to Him, and to serve Him better, in 2010. May this be the experience of each and all, to His glory.

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