Biblical wisdom

Published 1:03 pm Saturday, June 2, 2018

by William Sloan

How does the God of the Bible define wisdom and, moreover, how must humanity implement it? Through the active grace of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the earnest study and implementation of Holy Scripture, humanity is able to grow in the knowledge of God. Humans comprehend the Living God rightly through studying the Holy Bible and persevering in divine grace.

Humanity’s knowledge is warped and misdirected as result of sin, beginning with the fall (i.e., Adam and Eve’s disobedience.) Humans are designed by the Father, Son and Spirit to honor and labor for the Sovereign God, who creates all things out of nothing. That said, the effect of sin distorts humanity’s ability to achieve the goal of fully laboring for the Living God per His design. The Lord recognized this and sent His Son to offer humanity regeneration from the depravity of sin. Christ Jesus enables fallen humanity to grow in knowledge through His infused grace, which always verifies the instructions written in Holy Scripture. In sum, separate from the renewal made effective through God’s Son and the earnest study of Holy Scripture, humans will not grow wise.

The Messiah is fully wise and the Holy Bible is the supreme document that is perfect in wisdom. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have breathed out Holy Scripture. The noun wisdom is utilized 203 times in the Holy Bible. These passages all indicate that wisdom is something learned by humans and taught or granted by the God of Israel.

For example, Joshua son of Nun was filled with wisdom because the Father had infused grace through Moses who had ordained Joshua to lead (Deuteronomy 4:6 NRSV.) Similarly, the Sovereign God granted Solomon wisdom and understanding, which enabled him to govern and write effectively (1 Kings 4:29-30 NRSV.) Moreover, Solomon’s wisdom, granted by the Father, was studied by many other kings who endeavored to be wise (1 Kings 4:34 NRSV.)

Solomon maintains that if humans endeavor to be wise they must seek out wisdom from Holy Scripture and the Godhead and, moreover, are required to give earnest thought to their ways (Proverbs 4:7 NRSV.) Solomon also maintains that a humble wise man delivered a whole city from ruin and that knowledge and understanding granted by the Father enabled him to persevere (Ecclesiastes 9:15 NRSV.) Similarly, Ezra is gifted wisdom from the Sovereign God, enabling his ability to instruct judges and magistrates in a godly and Scriptural manner (Ezra 7:25 NRSV.)

Job describes humans obstinate to the Lord’s wisdom as having “their tent-cord plucked up within them” meaning that without the Living God’s instruction the individual will not grow in His knowledge (Job 4:21 NRSV.) Similarly, Daniel was identified as being wiser than the pagan thinkers within Babylon and attributed his knowledge solely to the God of Israel (Daniel 2 and 5 NRSV).

Ezekiel is instructed by the Father to rebuke the King of Tyre for corrupting the knowledge God had granted him through pride and disobedience (Ezekiel 28:11-17 NRSV.) Moreover, Paul maintains that Christ was Himself incarnate Wisdom, and Corinth was granted knowledge from God correcting their own (1 Corinthians 1:30, 2:7, and 12:8 NRSV.) In sum, the Biblical authors are made wise by submission to the Godhead, who has breathed out Holy Scripture.

As a philosophical illustration, consider the example of a young man learning to fly fish. The young man has observed others fishing and attempts to teach himself. The young man has utilized certain flies and tactics, but has failed to excel the way he should. An older fisherman observes the young man’s trouble and begins to instruct him about additional flies to utilize and more effective casting methods. Then the older fisherman gives the young man a book that will detail proper fly casting methods. The young man becomes a more effective fisherman by utilizing the book and being obedient to the wisdom of the older fisherman. The older fisherman represents God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, humanity is represented by the young man, and Scripture is represented by the book detailing fly casting. In sum, humanity will not grow in wisdom when left to its own devices. We must make ourselves fully pliable to the wisdom of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and instruction of the written Word. Growth in the knowledge of God is only possible through the infused grace of Christ and earnest study and implementation of the Holy Bible.

WILL SLOAN is the minister at Grace Memorial United Methodist Church in Sedley.