T. PIERCE BROWN
It is wise to study the subject of wisdom, for Solomon said, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). The study is more interesting in view of the fact that although Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived with the exception of Jesus, he acted like the biggest fool one could ever find.
That should help us to realize at least three things. First, having wisdom is no guarantee that we will act properly. Second, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Third, human wisdom is not the same as wisdom from above. In 1 Corinthians 1:20-24 Paul shows clearly that the world by its own wisdom did not know God, and that all the wisdom of the world is foolishness compared to the wisdom of God. He specifically says so in 1 Corinthians 3:19, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”
When James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him,” we may raise the question, “If God answers that prayer and gives us wisdom, how does it differ from the wisdom of the world, if at all?”
Since the Bible does not go into detail about that, the answers I will give are only those arrived at by reasoning from what the Bible does say. Let us examine some of those things. Since James speaks of a wise man who may have two kinds of wisdom, one earthly and one that comes from above, we can see there is a difference. Verse 14 says, “But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth.” Whatever wisdom a man has, or however smart he may be, if it causes or allows him to be factious and glorify himself or lie against the truth, it is not from God. This shows us that a man may develop wisdom by learning to apply his reasoning capacity with whatever knowledge he may have. God gave this ability to all kinds of persons, whether good or evil.