What Wisdom is.
Wisdom is a capacity of the mind that allows us to understand life from God’s perspective. Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon encourages us to “get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:5). He says those who get wisdom love life (see 19:8); that it’s better to get wisdom than gold (see 16:16); and that those who get wisdom find life and receive favor from the Lord (see 8:32 – 35).
Yet in Ecclesiastes 7:23–24 Solomon also makes clear that getting wisdom is a challenging process: “‘I am determined to be wise’ — but this was beyond me. Whatever exists is far off and most profound — who can discover it?”
Fortunately, Scripture provides us instruction in this area. Here are four Biblical instructions for how to get wisdom:
1. Fear God
Solomon says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (see Proverbs 9:10). But how should we fear God? Philipp Melanchthon, a collaborator of Martin Luther, discussed what it means to fear God by contrasting filial fear with servile fear. Filial fear is the type of respect and love a child has for a parent, a fear of offending the one they most adore and trust. In contrast, servile fear is the kind of fear that a prisoner has for his jailer or executioner.
2. Desire wisdom
The second step to getting wisdom is to desire it with all our heart. As Solomon says, we must “look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure” (Proverbs 2:4).
3. Pray for wisdom
As James tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
4. Study God’s Word
The fourth step in getting wisdom is studying and meditating on God’s Word (see Psalm 19:7). We shouldn’t rely merely on our own understanding, though, but lean on the wisdom and insight produced by Christians throughout the church’s history.
PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY: To get wisdom we must fear God, study his Word and prayerfully desire to understand life from God’s perspective.