Knowledge vs. Wisdom


“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” – 1 Corinthians 2:7 

Scripture makes repeated reference to a “secret” knowledge or wisdom that comes only through the Holy Spirit. It is revealed to people, not acquired through education or research. It explains how life works. It comes through the Holy Spirit.

The word “secret” is problematic because it’s often associated with darkness and abuse. The word “mystery” may be better because the way we acquire the secrets is mysterious.

But it’s not just the fact that it’s hidden. The word “secret” also gets at the knowledge aspect of what is happening. It’s not just a state of mind but specific intelligence or learning that you acquire; i.e., “wisdom.”

The secrets, according to this passage, are foolishness to the world. For example, to give in order to gain. To lose in order to win. Jesus reveals these secrets to the disciples. He also speaks of them at the Sermon on the Mount. The middle of John’s gospel is full of them.

Are they something you can document? Sure, you can make a list. But the ability to understand or comprehend them comes through the Holy Spirit.

David talks about this in the Psalms.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” – Psalms 90:12 

We don’t acquire wisdom, i.e. spiritual knowledge. It is something that God gives us as we seek God.

This seeking happens in humility. We are but specks on God’s lapel, so the best we can do is to name it and ask God to shape us and give us not just human knowledge but this mysterious, spiritual wisdom.

 

About the Author

Len Wilson

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Christ follower. Storyteller. Strategist. Writer. Creative Director at St Andrew. Tickle monster. Author, Think Like a Five Year Old (Abingdon).

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