Quick! Picture a wise person. What does that person look like? Most people would think of an old man with a long white beard. This is an almost universal archetype in many cultures and literature. From Gandalf to Master Miyagi to Obi Wan Kenobi, there are too many examples to need to belabor this point.
Along with this perception comes the idea that wisdom is exclusive, elusive, and difficult to attain. People are described as searching for wisdom: climbing tall mountains to talk to the wise old man at the top, going on introspective journeys, or meditating for a long period.
This can give people the perception that wisdom is only for an elite few, while the rest of us have to plod on hoping that we develop some bearded friends soon or we’ll be in trouble.
While this is a common view of wisdom, the Bible says differently.
Now, it’s true that we can get wisdom from elders and it’s true that we must search for wisdom.
But wisdom is not exclusive or for the elite at all!
The Bible says that wisdom calls out to us saying,
“Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding. Proverbs 9:4-6
Wisdom is accessible by everyone.
It’s not only
- for the privileged few
- for the rich
- for the private school educated
- for the honor student or the dean’s lister
- for the aged
- for the one who likes to read books
- for the one who posts “meaningful” tumblr graphic quotes
It’s for everyone! We can all get the wisdom that leads to prosperity, healthy relationships, greater purpose, and an overall better life.
Then the next question for us would be: But if wisdom is for everyone and is accessible by everyone, then WHY DON’T WE ALL HAVE WISDOM?
We don’t lack wisdom because it is exclusive. We lack wisdom because we want something else more than wisdom.
The Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
Wisdom begins with fearing God – this means trusting Him in all things, knowing that He knows what is best, that He is the ruler of the universe. This position of humility prepares us for wisdom because we’re saying we don’t know everything.
To fear the Lord also means something else, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13
Many people miss out on wisdom because we don’t want to let go of our pride and arrogance. We want to continue our evil behavior no matter how destructive to ourselves and others. And we refuse to correct our perverse speech.
So it’s good news! Wisdom is available for all. But how much do we want it?