Wisdom Is A “Who” More Than A “What”

“Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:24)

Wisdom is a who more than a what.

Jesus is Wisdom. He is the Proverbs wrapped in flesh. They are animated and fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus Lived The Proverbs For Us.

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”(1 Corinthians 1:30–31 ESV)

The Proverbs fill in the blanks for us on Jesus’s life that the Gospels didn’t set out to give us. We don’t have to wonder, “What would Jesus do?” The Proverbs tell us. They show us what he did. They show us what he didn’t do. The Proverbs give us insight into how Jesus faced the everyday matters of life, therefore discipling us into our everyday lives.

The wise life is to have the proverbial righteousness of Christ play out to every edge of life.

Wisdom is not smarts or morality. It’s not knowledge to win trivial pursuit. If we want to know what perfect wisdom looks like, there is one place to look. The Son of God. The Son of Man. Jesus.

The Hebrew word for wisdom basically means skill. It’s used to describe skill in war, art, and craftsmanship.

Wisdom is Christ-empowered skill to live for the glory of God.

We cannot live wisely without him. His cross, his resurrection, his Holy Spirit empowering us is the only way we can be biblically wise.

This is the grace of wisdom. It’s a gift, a fruit form the gospel, freely given to us by Jesus himself. He is the Sage of the sages. He is the wisest of the wise. He is greater than Solomon (Matt. 12:42).

Jesus Lives The Proverbs Through Us.

The Proverbs are not problematic for us—we have the risen Christ at work in us (Gal. 2:20). Yes, the Proverbs go against the grain of our flesh—calling us to humility and away from pride, calling us to think before we speak, etc. The bar is high; and Christ met it. And now we can live out the wisdom of Proverbs, the righteousness of Christ, with fear [of the Lord (Prov. 1:7)] and trembling, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

If we want wisdom, if we want the Christ-empowered life, we must hear from him in the Scriptures. “Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right” (Prov. 8:6 ). We must take his counsel. “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold” (Prov. 8:10). We must listen to ourselves far less, and listen to him far more.

Jesus is our wisdom. And in his grace, he freely offers it to us. “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me” (Prov. 8:17). If we go to Jesus for help, we will not find a cold shoulder. We’ll find nothing but love. Nothing but grace. Jesus sits on a throne of grace; not one of finger-wagging and tsk-tsks. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16)

The Proverbs are the practical righteousness of Christ, his life, played out in our sanctification. Wisdom isn’t a nebulous concept, or ancient advice for life. Wisdom is draped in Nazarene flesh. Wisdom is the Ancient of Days. And now, by the gospel of grace, Jesus is our wisdom, and our righteousness, and our sanctification.

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    1. Wow. Thanks, Joe. This concept has totally changed the way I see Proverbs. They are kinda like the extended edition/director’s commentary to the life of Christ.

  2. Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. (‭Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭34-35‬ ESV)Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. (‭Luke‬ ‭11‬:‭49-51‬ ESV)

  3. Yes, I too was recently thinking about Jesus being wisdom personified. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” “Learn from me.” Thanks for the article.

    1. Thanks for reading, Lynn. I think Jesus sums up the Proverbs both in his life and his teaching. Especially when he says that man is the who hears and his words and does them is like the *wise* man who builds his house on the rock. And that the *foolish* man is the one who hears his words and does not do them; he builds on the sand.

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