As we are studying the book of Proverbs, it might be good to ask, “What is Wisdom?” According to Wikipedia, wisdom is ‘the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.’
So, wisdom is pretty much a correct application of sound knowledge based on proven experience and proper common sense. So, Solomon writes PROVERBS so that we basically know what to do, what decisions to make in every juncture of our life.
Now, two things WISDOM is not.
Firstly, WISDOM is not KNOWLEDGE. Wisdom is not the same as the amount of information you have in your head. Knowledge is important. Without knowledge you don’t know what you don’t know. But wisdom is the ability to put that knowledge into practice and to gain benefit from that knowledge. If you have to choose between the two: It is better to have little knowledge but know what to do with it than to have much knowledge but not know what to do with it. Although of course, if you can choose both, choose both: Much knowledge and much wisdom.
Secondly, WISDOM is not just Applied Knowledge. In the Bible, the Hebrew word ‘Hochmah’ (חכמה) for wisdom does not simply mean ‘wisdom’ as we know. The word ‘Hochmah’ also includes the skill or the technical skill. For example, in Exodus 35:35, God has given two men, Bezalel and Oholiab, the ‘skill’ to do the all the art work needed to be done in the Tabernacle. The word for skill there is the same word ‘Hochmah.’ So, it is not just applied knowledge. It also includes the skill to put it into practice.
Therefore, Solomon wrote Proverbs so that not only will we grow in our wisdom and know what decisions to make in different situations in life, but that we will also grow in skill, in our capability in applying that wisdom, in actually carrying out that decision properly. As we study Proverbs together, let that be true for all of us at CrossCulture.