The Call of Wisdom. What is Biblical Wisdom? Is it not so common common-sense? Is it an inner instinct formed by years of experience that says, “Hey, if you run that red light, you might get a ticket!” Or, “Hey, that stove burner is flesh-searing hot, don’t touch!” I would love to say YES!! Then, find some scripture that supports my claim and close the Bible to be on my way. But, that is not being a good steward of the understanding God has blessed me with from great teachers, mentors and preachers of the Word.

     Something I heard yesterday resonated with a book I am reading by J.I Packer, “Knowing God,” as well as with my study of this passage in Proverbs. We are to glorify God in all that we do, right? Well, we can truly only come to glorify God by knowing Him; and the only way we can know Him, His voice or His will for our lives is by knowing His Word, which He has given us so that we may cultivate our relationship with Him.[1]

     Well, I had that rattling around in my brain, and as I meditated on what Wisdom is, I did the only thing I knew to do, I looked up the word and broke down the passage. This is what I have been taught to do in Inductive Bible Study, as well as in college. So often we approach understanding the Bible from this mystical place and overlook the fact that the Bible is a compilation of books, written with grammatical structures and rules of discourse, based on how the writer understood his world, and how the recipients reading the book understood their world, so we have to look at it as they would have which is not that difficult to do. If we all believe in the Bible’s inerrancy as I do, then it will stand on those rules!

     Having said that…

     First things first, Proverbs 1:20-33 has one main topic here. Academics call it the “topical frame”. It’s basically where the writer introduces a new concept or idea that (s)he wants to highlight or compare with something else. Here, it’s clear the topic switches from the worldly mob-mentality of the previous verses to the call of Wisdom. This is why most Bibles drop a section header before verse 20 to help us realize that the ideas are changing. Before this was explained to me, I had no clue how they determined all of that or why it mattered. But, knowing it has helped me understand the verse sections are there for a reason. No brainer, right? You would think; but it never occurred to me those were even there based on the grammatical rules God utilized through those whom He inspired to pen the Bible. I just took it for granted.

     The highlighting or comparison in the verses is all about those who accept Wisdom’s call and those who do not. Throughout the 13 verses we can see that Wisdom is calling out, she is raising her voice, she is trying so hard to get us to pay attention to what she has to say, to her voice. She declares that she wants us to turn to her argument, to turn away from hating knowledge and she promises that she will make her words known to us and pour out her spirit upon us. All we have to do is heed her counsel, heed her call and accept where she shows us we are wrong, where we are to blame and where our behavior is rejected by her.

     But, when has Wisdom done this? What is Wisdom?

     Biblical Wisdom is both spiritual and down-to-earth; and it is the result of taking insights gleaned from the knowledge of God’s ways and applying them to our daily walk.[2] Wisdom is also rooted in the wonderous respect for God that we should possess as we come to know Him and as we see that Wisdom is derived from Him alone. [3] Therefore, when we look at this and then look at these verses, we can see that Wisdom is from God and only by God can we come to truly acquire it and Scripture shows us that it is dispensed to us by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 2: 10-13). Proverbs 1:23 further drives this home by saying that Wisdom’s words are made known to us; and God's Wisdom has done this throughout His entire written Word.

     So, as I researched this and meditated on it all, what God is conveying in a personal application to my life is that I need to study His Word, apply it to my life, to share it with others, and chase after what His Word shows to be true and right. Knowledge of God, and Wisdom that is promised doesn’t come from anyone or anywhere but God, which is revealed in His Word, through that which the Holy Spirit guided those to write when it was penned. The Bible that we have been given is for us to examine and pour over, so that those of us who study to show themselves approved may share what He is doing within us with others so that they too will do the same and come to know God.

     This isn’t knowledge for knowledge’s sake, this isn’t so we are the smartest person in the room, and this is not so that we can engage in hours of argument about opinions regarding dogma. No. This is so that we may glorify God, grow deeper in our relationship with Him by knowing what He has shared with us about Himself so that we may truly know Him and not merely know about Him. In this way we may heed His warnings, His call, and also change what does not line up with the Word of God in our own behavior, attitude and hearts to become more and more like Christ. Because, if we do not do that, well, we know what God has to say about it and what His Wisdom will do if we refuse to heed His Wisdom. Do you know God? Do you know Christ? Are you heeding Wisdom and living out His word? Are you studying it to know Him better?

Until Next Time
God Bless

[1] J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Westmont, IL: IVP Books, 2011).
[2] D. A. Hubbard, “Wisdom,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 1244
[3] John D. Barry, David Bomar, Derek R. Brown, Rachel Klippenstein, Douglas Mangum, Carrie Sinclair Wolcott, Lazarus Wentz, Elliot Ritzema, and Wendy Widder, eds. The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.


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