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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

What Is Wisdom? (Proverbs 6:22-23)

When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. ²³For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life —Proverbs 6:22-23

In his new commentary on Proverbs, Ray Ortlund Jr. explains what wisdom is:

Wisdom is more than brains. It is more than morals. We could memorize the whole Bible, and mean it from the heart, without wisdom.

Wisdom is skill, expertise, competence that understands how life really works, how to achieve successful and even beautiful results. We see a picture of wisdom in Exodus 35:31, where the word translated “wisdom” in Proverbs 1:2 is used for the skill of an artist adorning the tabernacle. We see wisdom in Jeremiah 10:9 where the expertise of goldsmiths is called “the work of skilled men,” or wise men. We see wisdom in Psalm 107:27 for the know-how of sailors, who use the winds and tides to make their way through the sea to their destination. Whether craftsmanship working with the materials of life or seamanship steering through the currents of life, so to speak, wisdom understands how real life can work well.

Wisdom knows better than to walk onto the football field and hope the game will go well somehow; wisdom draws up a game plan that will score more touchdowns than the opponents because that plan takes into account not only the rules of the game but also psychology and timing and strategy and everything it takes to win. That is wisdom.

Proverbs: Wisdom that Works, p. 28, paragraphing added.


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