Human beings all over the world, from different circles of life, have their own definitions of wisdom. But the greater percentage of what many hold as wisdom, is what the bible refers to as conceited wisdom.
The married man or woman who has extra-marital affairs, with the notion that the taste of only one type of soup is not enough, believes he/she is operating in wisdom.
The beautiful lady who goes about trading her body sexually for money, with the notion that she is using what she has to get what she wants; believes also that she is walking in wisdom.
The young man who uses the internet and other media to trick and scam people into frustration believes also that he is smart or walking in wisdom. Just to mention but a few of the conceited wisdom mankind operate in.
And to this group of people walking or operating in this kind of conceited wisdom, the word of God says;
“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him”—Proverbs 26:12
Given this backdrop, we want to scripturally study what true wisdom or divine wisdom actually mean. So people can actually pursue and apply it in every area of life.
What Is Divine Wisdom?
Scripturally, there are mainly four definitions of wisdom. And we will be considering them one after the other.
- The Fear of God: “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living… And unto man he said, behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”—Job 28:12-13; 28.
The above scripture defines wisdom— divine wisdom—as the fear of God. Then again the word of God tells us in Psalm 111:10 that;“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”. Hence, according to scriptures, divine wisdom can simply be defined as the “Fear of God”.
- Thoughtfulness: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves” – Matthew 10:16. The word wise as translated in the above scripture is from the Greek word: ‘phronimos’ meaning; ‘thoughtfulness’. In order words, sagacity, discretion, shrewdness, astuteness, cleverness, cunningness or subtlety (in a good sense), etc. The Lord admonished his disciples to engage this type of wisdom as he sent them out to preach the gospel.
He admonished them to be as wise as the serpent and harmless as dove.And of course, what Jesus says to one, he says to all. This same injunction of the Lord also applies to us Christians today. We also need this divine wisdom in the discharge of our great commission; in order to record substantial results.The Apostle Paul employed this aspect of wisdom in his Evangelical work. He says; to them that are under the Law, became as a man under the law. And unto them that are without the law, he became as a man without the law. To the intent that he might by all means save some (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).And of course, this being wise as serpent, is shrewdness. It is definitely cleverness or sagacity. And we must as well employ this wisdom in our ministry and every area of life, for maximum success.
- Intellectual Insight: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord”—Luke 1:17The word translated in the above scripture as wisdom is from the Greek word; “phronesis” meaning; intellectual or moral insight. The same word is also translated in the New Testament in some other context as prudence.Hence, this gives us a third definition of divine wisdom to mean divinely inspired, intellectual or moral insight. In order words, understanding or prudence. This particular definition of wisdom, do merit distinction from the second definition of wisdom we had already considered, ‘phronimos’.So intellectual or moral insight, inspired by God, is also divine wisdom.
- Love or Word Practice: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” John 14:21“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it”—Matthew 7: 24-27.In the first scripture above (John 14:21) the Lord defines love as having and keeping his commandments. Then the second scripture (Matthew 7:24-27), the Lord again says whosoever hears his sayings and does them, he would liken to a wise man.
Hence, we can define divine wisdom as well as the Love of God or the practice of God’s word. And I believe, just the same way as the word of God says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the Love of God is the climax of wisdom.
So there you have it. The above definitions are the meaning of divine wisdom. And the Lord will have us walk in all the above four aspects of divine wisdom to the glory of his Holy Name.