Gaining Wisdom


Dr. Bryan Smith


There was a time when people thought an educated person was someone with lots of information. But information is easy for everyone these days; much too easy. Most people struggle to finish reading an article like this because of the many distractions of our modern life. Everyone has information, but most people still lack something that only education—true education—can give.


What is that something? It’s the ability to look at information and see it in the proper perspective. It’s the ability to sift through the piles of data that all of us slog through and discern what’s true and what’s really important. It’s the ability to know how to take what is most important and put it to use so that success—lasting, satisfying success—is achieved. It’s wisdom.


How do you get something as precious as wisdom? Proverbs has the answer: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10a).


Fear? Modern secular education tells us to abandon our fears. We are told learning is possible only if we are willing to call everything into question—our sexuality, our beliefs about where we came from, and our beliefs about God. But such advice is a lie. The wise person has come to accept that some questions need not be asked. He knows that God is to be feared. This doesn’t mean that the wise man runs away from God in terror. But it does mean he takes God seriously.


What else does wisdom require? Proverbs says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. You can’t be wise without fearing God, but you also can’t be wise without a lot of other things too. Anyone who would be wise must also be a learner, a careful observer, and a student. With the fear of God firmly in his heart, he needs to study the world all around him. He cannot make wise decisions unless he has a great deal to be wise with. So he’ll have to know about science, math, language arts, and social studies. But he’ll have to know about these from the perspective that only the fear of the Lord can provide.


He’ll need to understand that science is a powerful tool for ruling over God’s world under God’s greater rule over him. He will have to see math as a way to model God’s world for God’s purposes. He’ll need to understand that human communication is the result of humans having been made in God’s image, and therefore, it must be used to imitate God’s character and deeds. And he’ll have to learn about society with the understanding that government exists to ensure justice—justice on God’s terms.


Where does a person develop this kind of understanding? All the way through life in whatever situation he finds himself. But the best way to begin is through education. Not just any education, of course. A Christian education. An environment where Christian parents, students, and textbooks all work together to produce something far more profound and useful than mere information. Reprinted by permission of BJU Press.


Volume 9 Issue 2 - The Renewanation Review