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Bible verses about Wisdom as Skill
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 35:30-35

Perhaps it would be helpful to understand that the basic meaning of the Hebrew word translated as "wisdom" is equivalent to the English word "skill." Solomon, in Proverbs 4:7, tells us, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom." He is really saying, "Above all things, get skill." Skill in what? Skill in living. God wants us to be skilled in living. In this case, God has filled Bezalel with wisdom, and this wisdom has to do with the responsibility that He had given to him in constructing the Tabernacle and it furnishings and utensils.

This principle becomes vital to us in regard to our place in the church of God, understanding about the Spirit of God, and understanding about God Himself and what He does in our conversion. These verses show that God Himself was personally and directly involved by means of His Spirit enhancing the natural and developed abilities of humans involved in His work. Bezalel and Aholiab already had skill, but what God did to enable them to perform a function directly for Him is that He increased their natural ability to enable them to function at a higher level than normal. A supernatural element was added to their lives.

If God did this for Bazalel and Aholiab, will He not also do it for us? Will He not give us powers greater than we have by nature? He does this by His Spirit and by stirring up the spirit in man.

If we follow the usage for "spirit" and apply it here, we see that "spirit" is an invisible and immaterial source of some sort of needed power, but in this case, it is external to mankind—supernatural. In other words, we can communicate spirit from one person to another, but that spirit will only be what any human is capable of. As we become more skilled, our ability to project or to communicate spirit to another person is also increased as well, but we reach a limit in our human ability to do this. However, God is showing that in order to do a work for Him, He will empower us to go beyond what is normally possible for a human being to do.

God gave these craftsmen supernatural power for them to operate in His behalf, to produce good fruit within the purpose of God, and therefore it was of God. However, when we see abilities that seem to be beyond the ken of a normal human being, we may not know the identity of the supernatural force or power until we begin to see its fruit: "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 4)


 

Exodus 35:31

Perhaps it would be helpful to understand that the basic meaning of the Hebrew word translated "wisdom" equates to our English word "skill." Proverbs 4:7 tells us, "Above all things, get wisdom." Solomon is saying, "Above all things, become skilled." Skilled in what? God wants us to be skilled in living. In this case, God fills Bezaleel with wisdom, or skill, relating to the responsibility He had given to him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 4)


 

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 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)


 

James 3:16-18

Wisdom in the Bible has the same general meaning as the English word "skill." In this context, wisdom indicates proficiency, competence, or adeptness at living in such a way to produce the fruits of righteousness. Notice that this wisdom from above that reflects itself in the conduct of God's children is first pure. It is uncontaminated by any of the myriad aspects of carnal, self-centered human nature. It is not peace sought at the expense of righteousness. Hebrews 12:14 clearly says we are to "pursue peace with all men, and holiness." It is not either/or but both. We all need to avoid needless contentions, yet not to the point of sacrificing the truth, compromising principle, or forsaking duty.

This wisdom is also peaceable and, unlike the attitude of the highly competitive, willing to yield. That is, it is not irascible, contentious, angry, or bigoted—driving the wedges of separation deeper—but rather calming, gentle, and tranquil. The heavenly wisdom will accomplish this through a person, not because he is necessarily mediating, but simply because he is projecting the nature of God.

If we are indeed regenerated by God's Spirit, being at peace and making peace will be the rule in our lives. As to the actual mechanisms that we can use to make peace, room for some differences of opinion certainly exists. There can be no dispute, however, that the vocation of every Christian is to make peace primarily through what he himself is. Secondarily, we must strive to secure the conditions and relationships that will make good will, concord, and cooperation possible instead of hatred, strife, competition, and conflict.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

 




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