What does the Bible say about wisdom?
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! Proverbs 4:7 somewhat humorously tells us, “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom!”
Generally, wisdom means applying experience, good judgment, and knowledge to make sound decisions and actions. If we genuinely want contentment, joy, and peace, we must understand and embrace God’s wisdom.
A wealth of wisdom comes from the Bible – in fact, the book of Proverbs is devoted to the topic. This article will explore the difference between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom, how to live in wisdom, how wisdom protects us, and more.
Christian quotes about wisdom
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” Saint Augustine
“Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it.” J.I. Packer
“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.” Charles Spurgeon
“No man acts with true wisdom till he fears God and hopes in his mercy.” William S. Plumer
“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” Francis Bacon
“The chief means for attaining wisdom, and suitable gifts for the ministry, are the Holy Scriptures, and prayer.” John Newton
What is wisdom in the Bible?
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for wisdom is chokmah (חָכְמָה). The Bible speaks of this divine wisdom as if it is a female person in the book of Proverbs. It has the idea of skillfully applying divine knowledge and being insightful and ingenious in work, leadership, and warfare. We are told to pursue wisdom, which begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7).
In the New Testament, the Greek word for wisdom is sophia (σοφία), which carries the idea of clear thinking, insight, human or divine intelligence, and cleverness. It comes from both experience and keen spiritual understanding. The Bible compares the superior wisdom of God to the world’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:21, 2:5-7,13, 3:19, James 3:17).
1. Proverbs 1:7 (KJV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
2. James 1:5 (ESV) “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
4. Ecclesiastes 7:12 “Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.”
5. 1 Corinthians 1:21 “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”
6. Proverbs 9:1 “Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.”
7. Ecclesiastes 9:16 “And I said, “Wisdom is better than strength, but the wisdom of the poor man is despised, and his words are not heeded.”
8. Proverbs 10:23 (NIV) “A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.”
9. Proverbs 16:16 (NASB) “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.”
10. Ecclesiastes 9:18 “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.”
11. Proverbs 3:18 “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.”
12. Proverbs 4:5-7 “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
13. Proverbs 14:33 “Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.”
14. Proverbs 2:10 “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will delight your soul.”
15. Proverbs 24:14 “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
16. Proverbs 8:11 “for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”
17. Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
Being wise: Living in wisdom
When we have the genuine desire to glorify God in our lives, we do that by chasing after the insight from His Word. As we live in faithfulness to His laws, we receive discernment for the choices we make every day, as well as key lifetime decisions, such as choosing a mate, finding a career, and so forth.
When God’s Word is our reference point, we can correctly apply knowledge and experience to new challenges and choices and thus, live in wisdom.
Ephesians 5:15-20 (NIV) tells us how to live in wisdom:
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
18. Ephesians 5:15 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.”
19. Proverbs 29:11 (NASB) “A fool always loses his temper, But a wise person holds it back.”
20. Colossians 4:5 “Act wisely toward outsiders, redeeming the time.”
21. Proverbs 12:15 (HCSB) “A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.”
22. Proverbs 13:20 “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
23. Proverbs 16:14 “A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it.”
24. Proverbs 8:33 “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it.”
25. Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
26. Proverbs 28:26 “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”
27. Proverbs 10:17 “He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who ignores reproof goes astray.”
28. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
29. Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
30. Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”
31. Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
32. Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
How is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom?
Any wisdom that is not built on the fear of the Lord is worthless.
The “fear” of the Lord includes terror of His righteous judgment (especially for unbelievers who don’t have the righteousness of Christ). Thus, believing in Jesus as our Lord and Savior is the first step toward wisdom.
The “fear” of the Lord also means awe, reverence, and respect of God. When we reverence God, we glorify and worship Him. We respect His Word and follow it, and we delight in Him and want to please and gratify Him.
When we fear God, we live in the awareness that He is observing and evaluating our thoughts, motives, words, and actions (Psalm 139:2, Jeremiah 12:3). Jesus said that in the Day of Judgment, we will be held accountable for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36).
When we fail to glorify and give thanks to God, our thinking becomes futile, and our hearts becomes darkened – we become fools when we don’t reverence God (Romans 1:22-23). This “foolishness” leads to sexual immorality – especially lesbian and gay sex (Romans 1:24-27), which, in turn, leads to a downward spiral of depravity:
“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done . . . They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32)
33. Proverbs 1:7 (NIV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
34. Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil, pride, arrogance, and a foul mouth.”
35. Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
36. Job 28:28 “And He said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”
37. Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts gain rich understanding. His praise endures forever!”
38. Psalm 34:11 “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”
39. Joshua 24:14 (ESV) “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”
40. Psalm 139:2 “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”
41. Deuteronomy 10:12 (ESV) “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
42. Deuteronomy 10:20-21 “Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”
43. Matthew 12:36 “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”
44. Romans 1:22-23 “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.”
45. Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
46. Proverbs 15:33 “Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.”
47. Exodus 9:20 “Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside.”
48. Psalm 36:1-3 “I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes. 2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. 3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good.”
49. Ecclesiastes 12:13 (KJV) “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Wisdom to protect you
Did you know that wisdom protects us? Wisdom keeps us from making poor choices and keeps us out of danger. Wisdom is like a shield of protection around our minds, emotions, health, finances, and relationships – pretty much all aspects of our lives.
Proverbs 4:5-7 (KJV) “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
50. Ecclesiastes 7:12 “says that both wisdom and money can be a defense or a protection, but only wisdom gives or maintains life. Money can protect us in some ways, but Godly wisdom gives us insight into unknown dangers. Godly wisdom issuing out of the fear of God also leads to eternal life.”
51. Proverbs 2:10-11 “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”
52. Proverbs 10:13 “In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.”
53. Psalm 119:98 “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.”
54. Proverbs 1:4 “To impart prudence to the simple and knowledge and discretion to the young.”
55. Ephesians 6:10-11 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
56. Proverbs 21:22 says, “A wise man scales the city of the mighty and pulls down the stronghold in which they trust.”
57. Proverbs 24:5 says, “A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge enhances his strength.”
58. Proverbs 28:26 say, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”
59. James 1:19-20 (NKJV) “then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
60. Proverbs 22:3 “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”
Godly wisdom vs worldly wisdom
We need our minds and spirits to be invaded by God’s wisdom. Godly wisdom guides us in a correct understanding of morality and in making decisions based on God’s perspective, as revealed in His Word.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!” (Romans 11:33)
Human wisdom is helpful, but it has conspicuous limitations. Our human understanding is incomplete. When we make decisions in human wisdom, we consider all the facts and variables we know, but there’s a multitude of stuff we don’t know. That’s why the wisdom from God, who knows all things, outshines worldly wisdom. That’s why Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
When we don’t understand God’s nature and purposes and fail to seek His wisdom, we generally become cynical, fearful, fatalistic, or passive. God’s wisdom makes us proactive, positive, and faith-filled as we face challenges.
God’s wisdom makes the most brilliant philosophers and debaters look foolish because the world’s wisdom fails to acknowledge God (1 Corinthians 1:19-21). “Our faith does not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:5)
Even though it isn’t the wisdom of this age, God’s message is true wisdom for the mature. It is a hidden mystery from before time began (1 Corinthians 2:6-7). Spiritual realities can only be explained by Spirit-taught words. Human wisdom cannot understand these things – they must be spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:13-14).
The Bible says that earthly wisdom is unspiritual and even demonic (James 3:17). It can lead away from God by promoting “science” that denies God’s existence or immorality that denies God’s moral authority.
On the other hand, heavenly wisdom is pure, peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and free of hypocrisy (James 3:17). Jesus promised He will provide eloquence and wisdom, which none of our adversaries will be able to oppose or refute (Luke 21:15).
61. Proverbs 9:12 “If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.”
62. James 3:13-16 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
63. James 3:17 “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.”
64. Ecclesiastes 2:16 “For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!”
65. 1 Corinthians 1:19-21 “For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”
66. 1 Corinthians 2:5 “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
67. 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 “Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”
68. Proverbs 28:26 “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”
69. Matthew 16:23 “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
70. Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
71. Proverbs 21:30 “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.”
72. Colossians 2:2-3 “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
73. Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
74. James 4:4 “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
75. Job 5:13 “He traps the wise in their own cleverness so their cunning schemes are thwarted.”
76. 1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”
77. Job 12:17 “He leads counselors away barefoot and makes fools of judges.”
78. 1 Corinthians 1:20 “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
79. Proverbs 14:8 “The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools deceives them.”
80. Isaiah 44:25 “who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who confounds the wise and turns their knowledge into nonsense.”
81. Isaiah 19:11 “The princes of Zoan are mere fools; Pharaoh’s wise counselors give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am one of the wise, a son of eastern kings?”
How to get wisdom from God?
How do we get God’s wisdom? The first step is fearing and reverencing God. Secondly, we must incessantly and passionately seek it out like hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4). We need to prize and embrace wisdom (Proverbs 4:8). Thirdly, we should ask God (in faith, without doubting) (James 1:5-6). Fourthly, we need to study and meditate on God’s Word, so we know what God has to say about . . . everything!
“The Law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:7-8)
Observing and learning from God’s creation brings His wisdom: “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6)
But failing to acknowledge Him as Creator makes one stupid and obtuse:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:20-22)
Finally, we get God’s wisdom from godly and wise counselors, mentors, and teachers: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.” (Proverbs 13:20) “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14)
82. Romans 11:33 (ESV) “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
83. James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
84. Proverbs 2:4 “and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.”
85. Proverbs 11:14 “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
86. Proverbs 19:20 “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”
87. Psalm 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
88. Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
89. Job 23:12 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
90. Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Wisdom vs knowledge Bible verses
What’s the difference between wisdom and knowledge? They are definitely interrelated.
Knowledge is an understanding of facts and information acquired through education and experience. Wisdom is using and applying knowledge in real-life situations.
Godly wisdom requires an understanding of God’s Word. It also requires Holy Spirit infused discernment, clear-sightedness, and insight into what might be going on spiritually behind the scenes.
We need to not only know God’s Word to have godly wisdom but apply it to our lives. “The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.” ~ A. W. Tozer
“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.” ~Charles Spurgeon
91. Psalm 19:2 “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”
92. Ecclesiastes 1:17–18 (ESV) “And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”
93. 1 Timothy 6:20-21 “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.”
94. Proverbs 20:15 “Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.”
95. John 15:4-5 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
96. 1 Timothy 2:4 “who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
97. Daniel 12:4 “But as for you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the end of time; many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.”
98. Proverbs 18:15 “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
99. Hosea 4:6 “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”
100. 2 Peter 1:6 “and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness.”
101. Colossians 3:10 “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
102. Proverbs 15:2 “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
103. Proverbs 10:14 “Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.”
With humility comes wisdom
When we fear God, we are humble before Him, learning from Him, rather than being proud and thinking we know it all. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
Humility acknowledges that we don’t have all the answers, but God does. And even other people do, and we can learn from others’ experience, knowledge, and insight. When we acknowledge our dependence on God, it positions us to receive the Holy Spirit’s wisdom.
Pride is the opposite of humility. When we fail to humble ourselves before God, we often encounter calamity because we haven’t opened our hearts to God’s wisdom. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
104. Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
105. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
106. Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
107. Colossians 3:12 “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
108. Proverbs 18:12 “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.”
109. James 4:6 “But He gives us more grace. This is why it says: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
110. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Wisdom and guidance
When we need to make important decisions or even minor ones, we should seek God’s wisdom and guidance, and His Holy Spirit will give us discernment. When making plans, we need to first stop and seek God’s wisdom and direction. When we don’t know which way to turn, we can seek God’s wisdom, for He has promised, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
When we acknowledge God in every aspect of our lives, He makes our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). When we walk in step with the Holy Spirit, we tap into God’s guidance; His Spirit is the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, and knowledge (Isaiah 11:2).
111. Proverbs 4:11 “I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.”
112. Proverbs 1:5″Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance.”
113. Proverbs 14:6 “A mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.”
114. Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
115. John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
116. Isaiah 11:2 “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”
Praying for wisdom
If we lack wisdom, God generously gives it to anyone who asks (James 1:5). However, that promise comes with a caveat: “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).
When we ask God for anything, we should ask in faith, without doubting. But in the case of asking for wisdom, we shouldn’t keep wondering if the world’s solution isn’t maybe the better way to go than what God says. If we ask God for wisdom, and He gives us insight into what to do, we’d better do it without second-guessing.
117. James 1:5 “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.”
118. Ephesians 1:16-18 “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.”
119. 1 John 5:15 “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
120. Psalm 37:5 (NLT) “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.”
Proverbs on wisdom
“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call understanding your intimate friend” (Proverb 7:4)
“Does not wisdom call, and understanding raise her voice? . . For my mouth will proclaim truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them. They are all straightforward to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Accept my instruction and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her. (Proverbs 8:1, 7-11)
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. . . Advice is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. . . I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth, and righteousness. . . I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice, to endow those who love me with wealth, that I may fill their treasuries. (Proverbs 8:12, 14, 17-18, 20-21)
“From eternity I [wisdom] was established . . . When He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as a master workman, and I was His delight daily, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the world, His earth, and having my delight in the sons of mankind. Now then, sons, listen to me, for blessed are those who keep my ways. . . For one who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD. (Proverbs 8:23, 29-32, 35)
121. Proverbs 7:4 “Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family.”
122. Proverbs 8:1 “Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice?”
123. Proverbs 16:16 “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!”
124. Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
125. Proverb 24:13-14 “Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; know that wisdom is the same for your soul. If you find it, then there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”
126. Proverbs 8:12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.”
127. Proverbs 8:14 “I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength.”
128. Proverbs 24:5 “A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might.”
129. Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”
130. Proverbs 23:23 “Invest in truth and never sell it–in wisdom and instruction and understanding.”
131. Proverbs 4:5 “Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.”
Examples of wisdom in the Bible
- Abigail: Abigail’s husband Nabal was rich, with 4000 sheep and goats, but he was a harsh and evil man, while Abigail had insight and good sense. David (who would one day be king) was on the run from King Saul, hiding out in the wilderness, in the region where Nabal’s shepherds herded his sheep. David’s men were “like a wall,” protecting the sheep from harm.
When the time of the sheep-shearing festival came, David requested a gift of food from Nabal for his men, but Nabal refused, “Who is this David?”
But Nabal’s men told Abigail about everything and how David had protected them. Abigail instantly packed up bread, wine, five roasted sheep, roasted grain, raisins, and figs on donkeys. She headed out toward where David was staying, running into him on his way to punish her husband Nabal. Abigail wisely interceded and calmed David down.
David blessed Abigail for her wisdom and quick action that prevented him from bloodshed. As it happened, God judged Nabal, and he died a few days later. David proposed marriage to Abigail, and she accepted. (1 Samuel 25)
- Solomon: When King Solomon had just become king of Israel, God appeared to him in a dream: “Ask what you wish Me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “I’m like a little boy, with no idea where to go or what to do, and I now lead countless people. So, give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil.”
God was pleased with Solomon’s request; he could have asked for long life, wealth, or deliverance from his enemies. Instead, he asked for discernment to understand justice. God told Solomon He would give him a wise and discerning heart, like no one before or after him. But then God said, “I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. And if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.” (1 Kings 3:5-13)
“Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind. . . People came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.” (1 Kings 4:29, 34)
- The wise builder: Jesus taught: ““Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and its collapse was great.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Let’s not hold ourselves back by the limitations of our human wisdom but tap into the enthralling and eternal wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit. He is our counselor (John 14:16), He convicts us of sin and righteousness (John 16:7-11), and He guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
“The kind we want, the kind we can have, as a blood-bought gift of Jesus, by the Spirit, through faith — that wisdom is the factual knowledge and the situational insight and the necessary resolve that together succeeds in attaining full and everlasting happiness.” ~John Piper