Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you."
John 16:13-15

KNOWLEDGE is the basis for understanding and wisdom.  Knowledge is the accumulation and familiarization with information and facts…and facts are statements of truth.  For us “Christ-followers” --- the Bible is our reference manual. Here are some examples of facts:

  • There is one God 
  • Jesus is the perfect and sinless Son of God
  • Jesus came to earth and suffered and died on a cross for our sins
  • Jesus rose again from the dead and gives new life to all who trust in Him.

Bible facts include people, places, things, concepts, laws, and on and on.  Knowledge of these facts is extremely important! The Old Testament prophet, Hosea, speaking to the Israelite nations says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (and then he goes on to rebuke the priests for not giving the people knowledge). Knowledge is the stuff upon which our understanding and wisdom are founded.  When God’s people are destroyed and waste away, it isn’t because God has lost either His love or strength.  It’s because His people lack knowledge. Without understanding God and His word, God’s people are destined for destruction.

The world says, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you!”  The Bible makes it clear that what we don’t know will make us miserable, and eventually destroy us.

UNDERSTANDING is the process of working with the information or facts (reading, rereading, meditating, discussing, etc.).  As we do this we begin to see meaning and principles emerge.

  • One writer’s work elaborates on another’s. 
  •  Prophecy bears itself out in stories. 
  •  Stories undergird teachings.  
  • Parables make difficult sayings clear.  

The more we read and consider ideas and instructions found in the bible, the more practical understanding we gain.  Lights begin to come on.  Statements of fact that previously seemed disjointed begin to make sense.

WISDOM is the goal of knowledge and understanding.  Wisdom tells us what to do next, how to apply what we have learned.  Wisdom shows up in the action phase of our growth curve as believers. Wisdom is a gift that remakes us so that we may succeed in life.

Wisdom draws its basis from knowledge of God, coupled with a growing understanding of what He is intends and expects for us and from us.  Those with wisdom know which principle to apply in each situation. Those with wisdom know what to do next; they know which way to go. They do the right thing.  In contrast, there are many who have great knowledge and even understanding, but consistently do the wrong thing.

Wisdom is God’s ability flowing into and replacing our inability.  It is His strength overcoming my weakness.  It is His heart and focus displacing my self-absorption.  It is Him in me!....and it is orchestrated by His Holy Spirit.

 Knowledge and understanding only have eternal value as they result in wisdom – wisdom that shapes our decisions and actions in conformity with God’s plan