Many wish to be wise. Yet there are wrong concepts of what wisdom is. Often, one would consider a genius wise. Yet having a vast amount of knowledge is not wisdom. Others believe that those who understand knowledge are wise. This is not the case.
Just what is wisdom? Is it different from knowledge and understanding?
Knowledge is the accumulation of facts. All that you learn in school, in the Bible and through other experiences in life is knowledge. Every day that you go to school, you are learning knowledge. Scholars have much knowledge because they often spend their entire lives studying and researching. Yet knowledge is worthless if it is not correctly applied.
Understanding is a critical aspect relating directly to knowledge and wisdom. Understanding is a step beyond knowledge. It is the ability to evaluate the knowledge. This requires seeing the big picture, to see how the knowledge fits. To understand knowledge is to see the meaning or significance of the knowledge.
Yet what is WISDOM?
Before beginning this Bible study, be sure to get your Bible and look up every scripture. Take the time to write out the scriptures. Be sure to take notes on what you learn. This will help you remember these scriptures and principles, which will have a direct effect on how wise you become. It would also be beneficial to mark your Bible on the topic.
(1) Why, and to WHOM, was the book of Proverbs written? Proverbs 1:2-6.
The Proverbs were written so that everyone who reads and applies what is recorded would become wise. Each proverb found within the book of Proverbs is a statement of wisdom and, if you apply those principles, you will become wise!
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, is the author of the Proverbs. Essentially, this book of the Bible is inspired by God—written by the wisest human—for all mankind to grow in wisdom.
The Proverbs state from the beginning that they are written for young men (and women). Whether you are simple or young, these are written for you! Taking time to study the whole book of Proverbs and applying them will increase your wisdom.
(4) What does it mean to have the “fear of the LORD”? Proverbs 8:13.
Here is a simple application of wisdom. Most certainly, you see that there is much evil around you in this world. Just look at many of your friends who are lifted up in pride and arrogance. So many spend their teenage years walking in the “evil way.”
To grow in wisdom, you must analyze yourself and be certain that you hate evil. Be sure that you are working at getting rid of pride, vanity and arrogance in yourself. Realize that the tongue has a natural tendency to be filthy, and strive to not follow those who have a dirty mouth.
Take the time to read and summarize all of Proverbs 8. It is important to note that when reading Chapter 8, verse 13 seems out of context. Throughout the chapter, wisdom is describing herself and how she works. In the middle of the chapter, she explains what the “fear of the LORD” is. If you did not have the backdrop of the other scriptures above, you would not understand why this scripture is here. This is an example of an important rule of Bible study: Let the Bible interpret itself.
Many people do understand the price and value of true wisdom. Society puts in high regard those who are very knowledgeable, yet ignores what it should truly value—wisdom!
Wisdom goes far beyond all the riches of this world. The physical riches of this world do not last. Yet, wisdom is durable! If you had to choose between piles of the world's greatest treasure and true wisdom, which would you choose? Do you realize that God—the Creator and owner of all riches—tells YOU that wisdom is far better?
(6) Are there conditions for obtaining wisdom? Are there certain things you need to do? Proverbs 2:1-4.
Much is involved in obtaining wisdom. Not only must you read the words of the Bible, but you must also receive them, apply them to yourself. People seek to secure things that they value as treasure, and you must do the same with the wisdom from God's Word. Stop and think of all the hard work involved with mining silver, for example. You are supposed to apply the same—and greater—effort to gain wisdom.
You will grow in wisdom—that is a promise from God. But you must do your part!
Society is full of people who are indiscreet. Very few teenagers today show any self-restraint and prudence in their behavior and speech. Modesty is now almost unheard of.
Being discreet is a lost art. Strive to work on this simple yet sorely lacking characteristic. Almost every day, you will be given the opportunity to show discretion. As you do, you will seem different to those around you, but, at the same time, you will also be more appreciated.
(9) Another aspect of youth today is the lack of common sense. Can this be compared to an aspect of wisdom? Proverbs 10:21.
The Moffatt translation reads “...but a fool's lack of sense is death to himself.” Today, people lack common sense and it causes them much grief. They lack the sense to make proper, clear and correct choices. Are you thinking about the decisions you make? Do you ask yourself if you are using common sense? While this may seem so obvious, it is clear that many lack this basic attribute.
You must continually look ahead in life. The first law of success is to have correct goals in life. One can never achieve success if he never has clear goals. Be sure to look at life with a sense of purpose, looking forward in your own life. If you do not use vision, you will “inherit folly” (Prov. 14:18).
Did you realize that what you say could be put in two different categories? Are you certain that you speak of the right and correct kind of knowledge? It is not acceptable to speak just because you have knowledge.
Wisdom relates directly to what you speak. What does your tongue do? Are you in control—“clean”? When people all around you are using filthy language, you must be different. Take the time to summarize the entire third chapter of James.
Every person who is wise has shared the trait of a love for knowledge. Realize that you have a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow in knowledge. Take time away from the computer and video games to read books on various topics. Expand your mind! As you do, you will surpass your peers in school because they lack the hunger of knowledge that will, in turn, make one wise.
(13) One of the best ways to learn is by example. What is a sound way to grow in wisdom? Proverbs 13:20.
This verse can—and should—be applied in multiple ways. Take the scripture for what it means.
Be sure to choose wise friends, people who have all of the characteristics in this Bible study.
This verse can also be applied to the wise men of this world. Take the time to read biographies and autobiographies of successful and wise people. Be sure, if able, to read the Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong. When reading these books, make the people come alive—walk in their shoes. This is a simple yet very important way to “walk with wise men.”
The greatest source of wisdom is the Bible. Many of God's servants were wise. Take the time to read of the characters in the Bible. Do not just read about them as if it is an entertaining story. Rather, try to ride in the saddle. Make each of them come alive and literally jump off the page! Here are just a few examples:
David—I Samuel 18:14.
Take note. As you continually lay hold of and retain wisdom, you will continue to grow in happiness.
There are many benefits of wisdom. Many seek materialistic riches and honor, yet you have the key to true and lasting honor and wealth—wisdom! You will live a long, honorable and happy life as you strive to grow in wisdom.
Note that “straitened” means distressed or made difficult. You will not stumble nor be distressed as you live your life, if you focus on gaining wisdom. Of course, you will still have trials, but they will not defeat you!
Many of your friends make wrong choices and do wrong things. There are times when you are tempted to do something that is incorrect, to follow the “way of the evil man.” Yet, you will be delivered if wisdom abounds in you. How will this happen? Because you have the fear of God to love His Law and to not go the wrong way. You will be delivered from the temptations and struggles that you face.
(17) Solomon mentioned four things that are exceedingly wise, yet few understand. Can you decipher the principles of each of them? Proverbs 30:24-28.
The ants are an application of preparation, the conies (mountain mice, or rabbits) exemplify solidity, the locusts unity, and the spider tenacity.
One of the greatest keys in developing yourself is to grow in wisdom. While most of your friends focus on other ancillary things such as knowledge or riches, you now have the root that produces those qualities and many more.
Each day, determine to grow in wisdom. You will not become wise overnight. Rather, this is something that you will be able to increase for the rest of your life. Take the principles you have learned and apply them in your life. Be sure to study all those who have walked before us—their experiences are recorded for our learning.
While those around you focus on knowledge, most do not understand that there is something that is far more important.
You now have the key—use it! (Proverbs 4:5-7.)