Friday, October 1, 2010

Wisdom and Knowledge

Sometimes when you read multiple sections of the Bible concurrently, unexpected connections jump out at you that you hadn't made before. For example, one day last week I was reading the beginnings of Proverbs and Ephesians. Now in the first section of Proverbs, we are implored over and over and over to seek wisdom and knowledge and understanding. In the first few verses of chapter 2, we are implored to receive, treasure, make our ears attentive, incline our hearts, call out, raise our voices, seek, and search like treasure for wisdom. At the risk of understatement, it's really, really, really, really, really mega-important.

Then in 2:6ff we find the source of wisdom. Where should we go with all our seeking, searching, treasuring, calling out for wisdom? "For the LORD* gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright...". Which makes sense - if you truly want wisdom, go to the only wise God.

Anyway, later I was reading the first few chapters of Ephesians. Towards the end of chapter 1, we read Paul's great prayer for the Ephesian church, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him...."

Whoa! That's just what I had been implored over and over to seek with tremendous urgency. Having just read of how vitally important it is to seek wisdom, and that it ultimately comes from God alone, it caught my eye (much more than usual) that Paul here beseeches God to grant the Ephesians wisdom. Just made it stand out a bit, you know? But Paul's prayer doesn't end there - he defines the wisdom that he prays unceasingly for God to grant this church:

"...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."

That is, true wisdom consists of the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ. If you want to be wise, know the gospel. Any 'wisdom' and 'knowledge' and 'understanding' that doesn't point to Jesus is tragically deficient. Above all else, know Jesus.

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