The Solomon Factor
Instructions for Living

To Know Wisdom

Two big questions related to the acquisition of wisdom are:

    Will I know it when I see it?

    What am I going to do with and about it when I get it?

If we answer those two questions, we in the territory of Proverbs 1:2, "To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;"

There is no appreciable difference between the translations here. The ESV translates the second part of the verse as, "to understand words of insight." The NIV is essentially the same, but emphasizes attaining wisdom and discipline in the first part. Peterson is fresh as usual in The Message, "Written down so we'll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it's going;"

That is why we keep reading the proverbs. We need to develop a keen eye for recognizing truth when we see it and the discipline to receive instruction. At the same time, we need to cultivate a process by which we immediately apply what we have learned, understood, and assimilated into our lives.

To know wisdom is far more than to know something and store it in our cerebral files. It is more than being able to wax eloquent about the subject. I can talk for hours about things I have never experienced and even be half-way convincing. To really know wisdom is to know it experientially and to be as familiar with it as we are with the basic routines of our lives. It goes from our heads to our hearts and then, to our hands.

When we learn to live what we know, we start to know what we know.