preacher and writer in Chicago


Scripture is filled with wisdom. Both explicitly and implicitly. Explicitly, in the ESV translation of the Bible, wisdom makes an appearance over 200 times. Implicitly, it is much more difficult to count the number of places God’s Word gives us wise content. Nevertheless wisdom is woven through hundreds of Scriptutre’s inspired pages. In fact we would not be wrong to see every word in the Bible as the revealed wisdom of God. Suffice to say, Scripture is filled with wisdom. 

Therefore it is not a stretch for followers of Jesus to daily and moment-by-moment desire wisdom. God desires us to do so. James writes “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him“ (James 1:5). We should definitely ask for wisdom. The writer of Proverbs sets our vision rightly on wisdom as a foundational aspect of fearing God when he says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Wisdom is the mark of one who worships and fears God in Spirit and truth. So not only is Scripture filled with wisdom but we should long for it. 

But what if our desire for more wisdom could also be a failure to live wisely?  

Let me explain ...  

The other day I was speaking with a friend. It came to my attention in the conversation that he was living in a questionable way. However his sin was not one of commission (something he was doing that was wrong) but rather omission (something good he was failing to do). When I asked him about his failure to do the right thing, his response was subtly spiritual but clearly defiant. He told me something like, “I know I should but I’m just trying to be wise and discerning before I act.”

Think about that.

Have you ever said something like that? 

I know I have. 

What are we really saying? 

On the surface seeking wisdom and discernment is a really good thing. We’ve established this. But if we know what we are doing is wrong ... or if we know we are failing to do a good which God has clearly prescribed, we don’t need wisdom, we need obedience. After all, wisdom is the appropriate application of knowledge. In how we live. In how we speak. In how we think. In how we love. Wisdom is knowledge in the flesh. Therefore we are failing to live wisely when we delay obeying what we know to be true—even if our delay is motivated by a pursuit of wisdom! And just for the record, it is alway wise to obey God and his Word. 

So here’s the issue: Scripture is filled with wisdom, but we are not. Therefore in his infinite wisdom God didn’t just say he loved us, he didn’t just think about loving us, he sent love down through his Son. God’s wisdom was put on fully display when the Son of God took on flesh (1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16). Jesus is the revealed wisdom of God. And so in Jesus we can be wise again. Because in Jesus we gain knoweldge of truth and a new heart and spirit ready and able to obey.  

Scripture is filled with wisdom.

In Christ, may we be filled also.