Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wisdom Study Session 2—Proverbs 1:1-6: wisdom comes from outside us

The language of Proverbs 1:1-6 makes it clear that wisdom is something beyond our self, that it is something we do not innately possess. Verses 2 and 3 speak of us “gaining” and “receiving” wisdom and instruction. In other words, of us obtaining something we don’t already have. Verse 4 speaks of the Proverbs “giving prudence … knowledge and discretion to” someone, likely someone that does not already have those things. Verse 5 tells us to “listen” and “discern,” implying that the teaching to come comes from outside us.

That is consistent with the rest of Proverbs and the other wisdom books.Proverbs 2:1-5, 4:5-9, 8:17, 32-34; Wisdom 6:12 & 17, 8:2; and Sirach 14:20-27 discuss wisdom as something that we need to acquire, seek after. Proverbs 1:20-23, 8:1-6, 9:4-6; Wisdom 6:12-13, and 16 ; Sirach 4:17-19; 15:2-5, and 24:19 describe wisdom as something outside ourselves that calls to us or guides us. Proverbs 2:6, Wisdom 8:21, and Sirach 1:1 speak of wisdom as something given to us by God.

That is also consistent with Jesus’ teaching. He stated that we cannot really comprehend Him or incorporate Him into our lives on our own, but can only do so through the intervention of the Holy Spirit. John 3:1-8, John 13:8, John 16:12-14. See also John 15:4. Although Jesus did not use the term “wisdom” in those statements, the concept is the same: that we do not innately have what we need to properly walk in God’s ways. Further, Jesus was speaking of our need for Him in those passages and other parts of scripture state that Jesus is wisdom itself. 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30.

Scripture as a whole  reinforces the fact that we do not innately possess true wisdom by contrasting what we do innately possess (human wisdom) with true wisdom. See Isaiah 29:13-14, Jeremiah 8:9-10, Matthew 11:25, 1 Corinthians 1:20-21, James 3:14-19

So how do we respond to that reality? Two ways come to mind

First, we should actively look for, seek after, wisdom. We need it, but don’t have it, so we ought to humbly seek it. Scripture makes it very clear that we can obtain it—God wants to give us wisdom. Proverbs 8:1-6, 9:1-6; Wisdom 6:12-13, 16 ; Sirach 15:2-5, 24:19; Isaiah 55:1-7; Matthew 7:7-11 ; Luke 11:9-13; John 6:34-35, 7:37, James 1:5.

Second, we need to beware of false, worldly, wisdom. True wisdom is always consistent with scripture, so we should measure what we are learning against scriptural principles. See 1 John 4:1

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wisdom Study Session 1: Why study Wisdom

There are multiple reasons to study wisdom. 

First, it is one of the primary ways God “deliver[s] us from evil.” The scriptures tell us that wisdom protects us from evil & evil folks. Proverbs 1:33, 2:12-19, 4:6, 14:26; Ecclesiastes 7:12 and Sirach 15:4, 24:22. Scripture also tells us that wisdom helps us avoid mistakes & missteps. See Proverbs 3:21-26, 4:11-12.

Second, wisdom is a key way that God delivers blessings. Scripture tells us that wisdom. It helps our health. Proverbs 3:1-3 , 13-16, 4:10; Sirach 1:18. It gives us peace & patience. Proverbs 1:33, 3:17-18, 19:11, 29:8; Ecclesiastes 8:1; Sirach 1:18, 6:28, 15:4; James 3:17. It gives us hope. Proverbs 24:14; Ecclesiastes 8:1. It gives us dignity. Proverbs 3:35; Sirach 11:1. It strengthens our families. Proverbs 10:1, 14:1, 15:2023:24, 24:3, 29:3. It makes us more effective in what God calls us to do.1 Kings 3:5-12; Proverbs 21:22, 24:5; Ecclesiastes 7:19, 9:16-18; Wisdom 9:11-10. It helps us help others. Proverbs 11:30, 12:18, 14:35, 15:7, 21:11; Ecclesiastes 9:14-15. It helps us deal with the powerful. Ecclesiastes 8:4-6; Sirach 11:1

Third, it is available even if we have messed up. It is comforting to know that wisdom is available to folks who have been unwise, foolish, in the past. Proverbs 1:20-23, Proverbs 8:1-6, Proverbs 9:4-6

So how do we get wisdom? Look at the verbs in Proverbs 8:32-36 & Proverbs 9:4-6 and do those things. Keep thinking about, “chewing on,” scripture throughout the day. See, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-2; Philippians 4:8