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One of the key strengths that any person in modern society needs, in every part of life, is wisdom. Being wise is one of the most important and significant strengths you can have; some people naturally have a great deal of it, but all of us can work on and develop wisdom. It may be as simple as listening to that little voice, which, when you’re about to do something monumentally idiotic, says, “Um … not a great idea!” One of the commonly used alternative words for wisdom is “common sense”. The thing about common sense though, is that it’s not that common! Wisdom usually doesn’t just magically or naturally arise – it actually needs to be taught and learnt; and it needs to be inspired.

The Bible’s description of wisdom includes the general understanding of wisdom, common sense, otherwise known as “thinking things through before you do them,” but the Bible’s understanding of wisdom is much more than that of course. In the book of Proverbs and also in the apocryphal book named The Wisdom of Solomon, wisdom is described in quite personal terms. In fact, the picture of wisdom given to us is much more akin to how we describe the Holy Spirit. Just look at this excerpt from The Wisdom of Solomon (Chapter 7, verses 27–28):

In every generation she (Wisdom) passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.

The picture of wisdom here is very much like that of the Holy Spirit. Most scholars agree that, when the writers of the New Testament were working out what to write, both about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, they looked back to the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament for inspiration. Jesus too describes himself as being the “Wisdom of God”. In addition, at the start of John’s Gospel, which begins with those famous words, “In the beginning was the Word”, John clearly had an understanding of “Wisdom” (Sophia in Greek) as well as an understanding of the “Word” (Logos) in mind.

What does it mean to be a wise person according to this reading: someone who lives with wisdom and who is a friend of God and a prophet? What does it mean to be a person who embodies that concept of wisdom? The following simple list is a starting point. A wise person is someone who is:

  • Humble
  • Performs good deeds
  • Gentle
  • Considerate
  • Peace-loving
  • Merciful
  • Sincere
  • Impartial

May you be given the gift of wisdom in every part of your life.

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain