But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,
who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
The Wisdom from Above. To serve God, one must have Godly wisdom. And Godly wisdom only comes “from above,” from God, not from man. The foolish man’s heart directs him to serve the gods of this world (idols, pride, lust, wealth, fame, power, material possessions, etc.) and worship what the minds of man create (i.e., false teachings, etc.). The wise Christian’s heart directs him to seek the “wisdom from above” and to serve God and God alone:
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” – Psalm 14:1
A Christian must therefore realize the following:
- All Godly wisdom comes from above, from God – it only comes from reading, studying, and meditating on His Holy Word (the Bible),
- One must desire it; one must earnestly want to get it (acquire wisdom, “get understanding”), and
- One simply needs to “ask” of God to get it through prayer (Amazing!)
Scripture gives the above sequence as:
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – Proverbs 9:10
- “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.” – Proverbs 4:7, and “His delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:2
- But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
The three steps above then culminate with the admonition to always be “growing in the grace and knowledge [understanding]” of the Lord:
- You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 3:17-18
The ways and wisdom of man and this world (the crowd of “popular opinion”) say: “might makes right,” “I’m going to get mine first!,” “you’re going to pay for this,” and “I’m going to get even!” In contrast, the “wisdom from above” says:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:43-44
How blessed is he who considers the helpless. – Psalm 41:1
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. – James 3:13-18
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19
Make no mistake, it is much easier to simply follow the crowd; in contrast, following the “wisdom from above” takes boldness, courage, confidence, and strength of character! It is not easy to stand against the crowd, against popular opinion, and against the ways of this world, and there may be dire consequences for doing so. But the way of a Christian is clear: we are to please God, not man, as it is written:
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10
I have shown you in this book that the wisdom of this world leads to false teachings, fake science, and the seemingly endless “traditions,” myths, superstitions, opinions, and schemes of man. These lies and deceptions are then constantly shouted at us in staggering volume. Those, we are told by the secular world and the secular media, represent modern, educated, and enlightened man’s wisdom. What they really represent is the foolishness and folly of man and this fallen world. The wisdom of this world is described as “foolishness before God”:
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” – 1 Corinthians 3:18-20
This planet has seen firsthand the wisdom of man for thousands of years, and what has it gotten us? War after war, killing, stealing, raping, pillaging, looting, lying, cheating, greed, fraud, corruption, oppression, and many other evils, all stemming from selfish ambitions, pride and lust, and the endless ravenous pursuit of fame, money, and power, which is what the wisdom of this world values. Furthermore, the wisdom of the world has led to rebellion against God, denial of God, worshipping of idols, and moral depravity at every turn.
Yes, one must discard the wisdom of man (the wisdom of this world) to see God, and furthermore, only God, through His Spirit, can reveal the things of God to us:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. – 1 Corinthians 2:12-14
So good Christian, do you follow the foolish ways of man and this sinful, fallen world or the ways of God? Do you seek the things of this world or the things from above? The ways of man are all dressed up to make them appear as “wisdom” and to be good and profitable for a man, but it is written:
There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death. – Proverbs 14:12
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:1-2
Or expressed differently: Do you “follow the crowd,” or do you follow God? They almost always lead in opposite directions, and you must deliberately and consciously choose to follow one or the other, even after you are born again. A Christian must constantly be “grow[ing] in the grace and knowledge [understanding] of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” or they risk falling back into the ways of this world and back under bondage to sin, Satan, and death. If you are not “pressing on to maturity” in your faith by growing in an understanding of the truth, you can be led astray by the “wolves,” “vipers,” and modern day “Pharisees” (false and hypocritical teachers) as explained throughout this book. The wisdom of this world always leads away from Christ and back to sin, suffering, and death; it is the blind leading the blind:
And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?” – Luke 6:39
“Leave them alone; they are blind guides of blind people. And if a person who is blind guides another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.” – Matthew 15:14
And just because you hear something repeated loudly and often doesn’t make it true or even wise, and furthermore, as stated in Scripture:
Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar. – Romans 3:4
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea [the Bereans], and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. – Acts 17:10-11
Yes, the wisdom of this world will expire completely worthless at the Second Advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God will have been “found true” in all things, and the “wisdom from above” will have been vindicated, while the wisdom of this world will be judged and found that it amounts to nothing at all except “foolishness.”
You will also hear some claim that the Bible is outdated or “out of touch” with the culture and societal norms of today and that the Bible needs to be more “progressive” or “liberal” and “updated” to match current trends and fashions. However, once again, nothing could be further from the truth, for the Bible tells us that:
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9
In contrast to the wisdom of this world, the “wisdom from above” gives man an understanding of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the ways of righteousness and peace which lead to eternal life. The “wisdom from above” is like a solid rock, enduring, unchanging, a sure foundation – outlasting the folly of man. It is written:
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings. – Hebrews 13:7-9a
“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
The “wisdom from above” comes from God alone to those who believe in Him, humble themselves before Him, and call on His name. There is no admission fee for obtaining it, as God offers it freely to those who simply ask Him for it:
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 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. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:5-8
And finally, the Christian only gets the “wisdom from above” from God’s Holy Word. You won’t find Godly wisdom in the materials produced by man.
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:1-3
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name. – Psalm 86:11
See also the chapters on Choosing a Bible and Reading and Studying the Bible for more information.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens. – Proverbs 3:19
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones. – Proverbs 2:6-8
Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; Daniel said,
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
“It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
“To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.” – Daniel 2:19-23
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace. – Proverbs 3:13-17
Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
“Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
“Prize her, and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.
“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.” – Proverbs 4:5-9
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver. – Proverbs 16:16
“With Him [God] are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.” – Job 12:13
For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors. – Ecclesiastes 7:12
…that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. – Colossians 2:2-3
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. – Colossians 1:9-12
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. – Romans 11:33-36
“But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
“Man does not know its value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living.
“The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
“Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it,
Nor can silver be weighed as its price.
“It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
In precious onyx, or sapphire.
“Gold or glass cannot equal it,
Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold.
“Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned;
And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.
“The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
“Where then does wisdom come from?
And where is the place of understanding?
“Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living
And concealed from the birds of the sky.
“Abaddon and Death say,
‘With our ears we have heard a report of it.’
“God understands its way,
And He knows its place.
“For He looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.
“When He imparted weight to the wind
And meted out the waters by measure,
When He set a limit for the rain
And a course for the thunderbolt,
Then He saw it and declared it;
He established it and also searched it out.
“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.’” – Job 28:12-28
In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great faithfulness, and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, so that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” Then God said to Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you did not ask for riches, wealth, or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor did you even ask for long life, but you asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge so that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. I will also give you riches, wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed, nor will those who will come after you.” So Solomon went from the high place which was at Gibeon, from the tent of meeting, to Jerusalem, and he reigned over Israel. – 2 Chronicles 1:7-13
Anderson, R. John. "4.8 The Wisdom of God." EachDay.org. Access date: June 4, 2023. https://eachday.org/part-iv-the-way-of-a-christian/4-8-the-wisdom-of-god/