Chapter 3

Wisdom Throughout Scripture

We have given our attention to these three books that focus on the concept of wisdom. But before turning our attention to wisdom in the New Testament, we need to recognize that we encounter wisdom throughout the Old Testament. The Torah, the historical books, the psalms, and the prophets all speak about wisdom and its connection to the fear of God.

Furthermore, certain characters in the Old Testament are noted for their wisdom though on occasion their stories do not end well. Both Joseph and Daniel are called wise as they show their skill in living godly, righteous lives in foreign (Egyptian; Babylonian) courts. On the other hand, Solomon’s story turns tragic at the end of his life. When he first became king, he asks God for wisdom (1 kings 3:9) and he abundantly illustrated that wisdom in his decisions and actions (1 kings 3:16–28; 4:29–34). He truly feared God. However, he ended his life as a godless fool exploiting his people. Why? Because he loved and married women who turned his heart toward false gods (1 kings 11:1–13). Solomon’s life is a good reminder that we can lose our wisdom and destroy our lives by becoming fools.

Jesus, the Ultimate Wise Teacher

“And now something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42).

At the beginning of his reign, Solomon was the perfect example of wisdom. But, as the Gospels demonstrate, Jesus far surpassed Solomon even at his height! And, unlike Solomon, he never lost his wisdom.

Even in his youth, Jesus surprised people with the depth of his wisdom (luke 2:40–52). When he began to teach, the crowds were amazed (mark 1:22). Paul recognized Jesus as the one “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (colossians 2:3).

The New Testament authors even associated him with the figure of Woman Wisdom, whom we saw represented God and his wisdom. Like her, he was “the firstborn over all creation” (colossians 1:15; proverbs 8:22–26) and the one through whom all things were created (colossians 1:16; john 1:1–3; proverbs 8:27–31).

Living with Wisdom Today

The message to us today is clear. If we want to be wise, we need to develop our relationship with Jesus and listen to and obey his teaching.[shareimage] We need to “fear God” (luke 1:50; 12:4–5; acts 9:31; 2 corinthians 5:11). We are to “continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (philippians. 2:12). Wise people tremble before the holiness of an awesome and glorious God having a fear that leads to obedience. If we love God perfectly, then that love is combined with fear of God, leaving no space for fear of anyone or anything else (1 john 4:18).