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Bible verses about Wisdom as Skill in Living
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Proverbs 1:1-7

The ancient Hebrews associated wisdom with our modern term “skill,” even though “skill” is not a direct translation of the Hebrew term. “Skill” implies what wisdom is in actual practice: excellence in quality or expertise in the practice of one's occupation, craft, or art. People may acquire many skills in life, but the Bible focuses on human life and its God-given purpose. Therefore, a practical definition of biblical wisdom is “skill in living according to God's way of life.”

To refine it further, biblical wisdom is unique to those truly in a relationship with God. That biblical wisdom is a gift of God reinforces this fact, and according to James 1:1-8, we should ask for it and He will give it. James cautions that we must be patient because God gives it through the experiences of living within a relationship with God. Living requires time, and in some cases, a great deal of time because we are often slow to learn. God gives wisdom for us to make the best practical use of all the other gifts He gives, enabling us to glorify Him by our lives. As it is used, it displays a host of characteristics similar to the fruit of the Spirit (see James 3:17-18).

Proverbs 1:1-7 helps to clarify wisdom by showing that it consists of such other godly characteristics as knowledge of God Himself, the fear of God, understanding, discernment, discretion, prudence, justice, judgment, equity, etc., all of which, melded together and used, produce a skill in living that—this is important—is in alignment with God's purpose and way of life.

Undoubtedly, some people are worldly-wise. However, biblical wisdom and worldly wisdom are not the same skillset. Biblical wisdom contains those spiritual qualities that are in alignment with and support God's purposes. Though wisdom may provide a measure of worldly success, that is not its primary purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Eight): Death


 

Proverbs 4:7

Among the characteristics of God that we are to strive for, wisdom has an extremely high value, as this verse attests. Pay attention to the word “principal” here. Spelled in this manner—ending in p-a-l, not p-l-e—the term, according to The American Heritage College Dictionary, means “first, highest, foremost in importance, rank, worth or degree; chief.” It does not mean “a broad general rule” but “a quality or characteristic of the highest order.” The verse is saying, then, that wisdom is of the highest rank among those qualities under consideration, “therefore get wisdom.” The New International Version (NIV) translates this phrase, “Wisdom is supreme.”

Further study on this verse reveals that it is in reality an expansion on verse 5: “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of My mouth.” Thus, verse 7 exhorts the reader to make every effort in life to pursue and obtain wisdom. It is as though there is nothing more important in life.

Whereas the world associates wisdom with a rather abstract, philosophical dimension of life, the Bible's wisdom consists of a package of spiritual attributes that are deliberately shaped into a practical skill in living God's way.

The use of the phrase “deliberately shaped” is purposeful. Wisdom does not just magically appear. It is thoughtfully developed and used in the practical circumstances of everyday life. Its elements consist of such qualities as knowledge of God, understanding, discernment, judgment, prudence, equity, the fear of God, and more. As these elements are blended, shaped, and used, they become a spiritual sagacity combined with practical, useful skills in applying the teachings of God's way of life as exemplified by Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Nine): Wisdom as a Defense


 

Proverbs 14:8

True wisdom is skill in living, carrying with it the ability to judge present circumstances with a view of future success. The prudent person consciously follows truth. He deliberately chooses the right and thus does not walk on blindly.

Folly is senselessness, silliness, or irrationality. Why? Because the person deceiving is himself deceived. He does not realize his deceit will also crush him! What profit is in this sin? God has taken particular pains to impress upon us that it will boomerang and catch the perpetrator.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

 




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