Posted in Daily Living

Knowledge versus Wisdom

“Buy the truth, and sell it not” – Proverbs 23:23

The Book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom. However, just being able to quote the pithy comments penned by Solomon won’t make us wise.

“The fact or condition of knowing something” says Merriam-Webster when speaking about knowledge. I can say my multiplication tables zero through twelve. This is knowledge.

My husband makes his living as a network engineer. His knowledge of firewalls, LAN, WAN and MAN boggles my artistic mind.

Knowledge is gained through study. What we learn adds to our knowledge base.

Wisdom, on the other hand, involves more than learning. Even if Merriam-Webster makes the first definition of wisdom a synonym for knowledge, God says it isn’t true. The second and third definitions from the secular dictionary which use insight and judgment as synonyms for wisdom come closer to God’s definition.

“Buy the truth and sell it not: also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Pro. 23:23). God says wisdom is different from knowledge.

If fact, people can break the bank with all their knowledge and lack wisdom. Some very wise people might not have more than an 8th grade education.

My grandmother said wisdom comes from “the school of hard knocks.” She was my wisest counselor.

To illustrate, I know that in order to lose weight, I must burn more calories than I consume. Calories are the units of energy my cells need to perform their vital processes. When I don’t take in enough calories, my body knows to access the caloric storage room (fat) to provide energy.

If I continue to consume 2,000 calories daily while I only burn 1,800, I’m being unwise. I’m not applying my knowledge. Knowing something is not the same as doing it.

Wisdom is knowing the right path and taking it. Knowledge only takes us so far. To live a godly life, we need wisdom.

Thankfully, God is the source of wisdom and He’s happy to share the wealth. “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” (James 1:5).

Know what God wants you to do and you display knowledge. Do what God wants you to and you demonstrate wisdom.

“Just the facts” means knowledge. Application of knowledge shows wisdom.

See the difference?

Up next: some posts on prayer



Freelance writer and editor whose background in education and BA in English Language & Literature amps her love of all things books. Twenty years of parenting and 26 of marriage gives unique insight to her preferred audiences of women, young adults, and teenagers.

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