Just the mention of "Solomon" will cause many to think of the word "wisdom". Upon consideration, most would like to possess wisdom like Solomon did. We might even ask for it. After all, wouldn't that be neat to have? We read how God was pleased that Solomon asked for wisdom himself (1 Kings 3:5-15). We go along the road of life and never really seem to gain this wisdom we thought would be neat to have. So we continue thinking, "Oh well," and carry on.
Consider this a minute: It's one thing to realize wisdom would be nice to have. It's another to realize wisdom is something we NEED. We might say to ourselves, "Why do I need to have it? After all, I'm not in some position like Solomon, ruling a nation." It's thinking like this that shows how much we really need it. In this we betray a confidence we have to rule, at least, over our own life. What man can ever have confidence to lead himself correctly in his own life? No man has ever led himself correctly:
26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.       
Proverbs 28:26

(Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 12:15; 14:12; 15:11; 16:25; 19:3; 20:9,24; 23:4; Matthew 19:25,26; Romans 3:9-18,23)

There's something you need to gain knowledge of, so hear my confession:


Yes! I realize and declare this. If I didn't realize it, I would be completely consumed in it. Once I realized I was one, I was at the beginning of the answer to my problem (Proverbs 3:7; 28:13; 30:1-9). In realizing this though, I also saw that I dare not ever call another man a fool (Matthew 5:22). I must declare what God instructs me to say, woe is me if I don't (1 Timothy 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13). For me to call a man a fool, however, is to set myself in the seat of God and judge other men of my own accord. James warned against this (James 4:11,12).
Once we realized the complete folly of all that proceeds from us, of our own accord, then we're ready to move forward. It's when we cast aside all that's of ourselves that we can walk free from folly. So here lies the key, to gain wisdom, a person must first realize he's a fool. We then see our need and not just our fancy. From this comes the "fear of the Lord" (Proverbs 9:10; 14:27; 28:14). The fear comes because we realize we have no ground for confidence before the Judge of all the earth (Ecclesiasties 12:14). Upon realizing our lack of wisdom, James declares that we can ask for it and if we have faith, our prayers will be answered:
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.   
James 1:5,6

God dearly desires all his children come to the point where they'll realize they're void of wisdom, and need to ask Him for it. The whole basis of heavenly wisdom does require we ask for it. It will only be given to seeking hearts (Proverbs 18:1). Wisdom indeed is a great pearl, that's not just cast before swine.

We're shown in scripture there are two things called wisdom. The world always has its antitype, or counterfeit, of the true heavenly type (Proverbs 21:30). I've been referring to the true heavenly type to be apprehended. From God's viewpoint, the wisdom of this world is folly, and from man's viewpoint, the wisdom of God is folly (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.   
James 3:13-18

The wisdom from above is apprehended by humbling ourselves before God (Proverbs 15:33; 16:5), a result of seeing ourselves as fools. We're then in a state of meekness. It's notable this word "meekness" is used in James 3:13 above. Meekness is a realizing that all that proceeds from me is folly, but all that proceeds from God through me is wisdom.
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.   
Proverbs 3:5,6 (Proverbs 16:1)

The earthly wisdom also needs to be examined. By knowing what it is, we're better able to discern between the two. With this day and age, many are led by games, books, movies, etc., to think of wisdom as that which wizards, sorcerers and those commanding great power possess. This isn't the wisdom from God, but the earthly and devilish wisdom as mentioned in verse 15 above.

Let us look at the wisdom from above and the wisdom from earth in this side by side comparison chart:

Comparison Chart:


1) Near at hand:
As shown in James 1:5, it is for the asking. No brave exploits are required to obtain it.

2) After the whole heart of God:
Upon Solomon's pondering what's wise in all the earth and what's vain, he concludes the summary of all his wisdom taught to fear God and keep His commandments. God's desire is the focus (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Proverbs 8:35).

3) Fulfilling all righteousness:
(Psalms 92:15; Romans 9:14; Proverbs 8:13,20; 12:28). Since it's that which seeks God and comes from Him, and He is only righteous, it would always be after righteousness. Notice verses 17 and 18 of James 3. Whatever is sin is folly.

4) At the sacrifice of self:
It shows God's whole character in this point. His whole nature is sacrificial, from love. He sacrificed His Son for us. This wisdom works in such a way, that it costs positions of esteem and power in this world, which on the natural plane is a loss to self (Ecclesiasties 1:18; Proverbs 13:7; Matthew 16:24-26).


1) Near at hand:
As shown in James 4:1-3, which expounds on the two wisdoms, from 3:13-18, it's already a part of us. It's merely developed as we live more and more in our fleshly ways.

2) After the whole heart of Satan:
It serves self, which was Satan's temptation to Eve, in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4-6). Satan's ways are self-centered. His proud declaration of 'I's' in Isaiah 14:12-15 is to be noted.

3) Based in all unrighteousness:
(Jeremiah 22:13-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10; Luke 9; consider the riches of unrighteous-ness with Ezekiel 28:1-19, which pictures Satan.) Here is the ultimate area of an opposite of heavenly wisdom. Whatever is not ultimately towards righteousness, is towards unrighteousness. This is the pointing finger of truth, if the wisdom isn't of the one, then it's the other (Matthew 6:24; Proverbs 14:2,3,9).

4) Serves Self:
It seeks to gain at the cost of others. If it gives, it's so it can get. It works so that it can gain a position of esteem or power for self (Luke 16:15; James 3:13-4:6).

Now we've seen the two faces of the coin, let's focus on the heavenly side once again. Let's move from the ways of death to those of life. This is the focus of wisdom.

Many might think that once they get heavenly wisdom, they've arrived. This isn't the case. Wisdom's a tool, not an end. It's the hammer or saw used to make the building, not the building. You might buy the tools, but never construct the building. To have wisdom and to walk in it, are two different things. Solomon had wisdom (1 Kings 4:29-34), but look at his end:
1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.    4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.    6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.     9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,   
1 Kings 11:1,2,4,6,9

Obedience to the light of wisdom must follow, otherwise all is vanity (keep his command-ments of Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Being aware it's only a tool, we need to consider how to use it. By the use of it, we gain knowledge which can lead to life through either warning or exhortation. Remember that all truth to life is already found in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The wisdom God gives is a spiritual understanding of the truth. When you realize a truth it registers as, "Oh, of course, how obvious, why didn't I see that before?" It's not like, "OK, now I'll have to remember that."
You might learn truths you didn't know before by applying divine wisdom, but if you search hard enough, you'll find them taught in the Bible. To merely search the scriptures to see what's right or wrong without divine enlightenment, is useless. You end up with the letter of truth, not the spirit. You still end with death (2 Corinthians 3:6). You therefore have two dangers to watch for: One is gaining Spirit enlightenment to the truth, and ability to do it supplied, but not doing it. The other is, you figure out by the letter and intellect what to do. You then endeavor to do your best, but still stay out of the path of life. The reason is that you do it by works of the law.

13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.   
Ecclesiastes 1:13

13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.           
Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 (Ecclesiastes 7:23-25)

From these passages, we see Solomon's gift was brought to life by considering different things he observed in life. God's wisdom would bring him to the right conclusions upon meditating over something. This is how wisdom's used.

Solomon said to gain wisdom and knowledge. Only by knowing about something can wisdom be applied. Knowledge that's profitable to wisdom must, with knowledge of a situation and its outcome, be tempered with knowledge of God. If it doesn't have this, it's worthless.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.   
Psalms 119:99,100
(Proverbs 1:7; 2:5; 5:1,2; 9:9,10; 11:9; 14:18 15:2; 22:17-19; 24:3-6; 28:5)

12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.   
Ecclesiastes 7:12

It's by knowledge that we see the necessity of wisdom. Wisdom doesn't operate in a vacuum. It requires a situation and information about the situation to give instruction as to which action to take.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.   
Proverbs 4:7

When I was in High School, I went on a retreat with Christian friends. A husband and wife led it. During that weekend, I was finally fed up with my own stupidity, saying the wrong things at the wrong time. While I was out enjoying the scenery, I asked God to give me wisdom. I saw my need for help over my foolishness. Near the end of the retreat the woman called each of us aside privately to talk with us. She told each of us what God had shown her for us. She told me the Lord had said he was going to give me His wisdom. Talk about an answer to prayer! I hadn't mentioned my prayer to anyone. What shocked me was the use of the pronoun "His". That was more than I could dream of. I learned there's no other kind of godly wisdom. There's no such thing as degrees of wisdom, either it is, or it isn't. It's like purity, either something's pure, or it isn't. For a while, it didn't seem to come. What seemed to bring it to life, or reveal its presence, was reading Proverbs.
I learned I still committed folly, even with the gift. The ability to do wisely lay in the Spirit. The gift of wisdom wasn't the end, but part of the method in conforming to God's image. It's a tool to teach self-sacrifice and obedience to God. It's the key to meekness (Compare Prov. 16:16 with 16:19).

a) Wisdom's pure, but can it be partial? If so, what would keep it from being complete?

b) I've itemized differences between worldly and godly wisdom. What do they have in common that they're both given the title of "wisdom"?

c) You have a man with much knowledge, but little wisdom and one with much wisdom, but little knowledge, which is there more hope for? Why?

d) Folly is grievous to the wise, but why is wisdom grievous to the fool? What warning does this give?

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Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

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