[E-Devotionals] 2004-07-07 - Wisdom vs. Knowledge

Encore 1996-04-24

Greetings my dear friends. Just what is wisdom and what is knowledge?

In the Bible the word most used for wisdom is hokmah, which refers to skill. Hokmah is used to describe the skill of craftsmen, sailors, and other workers. These workers, having the knowledge of their trade, also had the skill or wisdom to perform their trades.

My trade is being a Real Estate Appraiser. I have taken many courses, passed state exams and earned my certification to be an Appraiser in my state. The knowledge from taking the required courses did not give me the skill (wisdom) to perform an appraisal. My skill comes from applying the knowledge I learned in the classroom to actual appraisal experience. I continually attended more courses to grow in my knowledge. With each day I become more skillful, by applying this knowledge.

Obviously from being a Real Estate Appraiser, I possess the knowledge of all the components required in building a house or building. I know where every piece of lumber, electrical wire, ductwork, brick, steel, etc. are placed. Most will say I have the knowledge to build a house. I know how to build a house, but I lack the skill or wisdom to apply this knowledge to the actual construction of a house. My lack of wisdom prevents me from putting all the pieces together.

Similarly, we can read the Bible everyday and we can even memorize passages in the Bible. We can know all about the Bible. We can memorize how many books are in each Testament. We can memorize where each book is placed in the Bible. We can even read devotionals everyday. We know where to find what, we can tell people what passages to read for different situations. But, do we have the skill, the wisdom to apply this knowledge to everyday life? Do we have the wisdom to put all the pieces together?

Look at these verses:

Col 1:9-10 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 1

Proverbs 2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man.2

In the spiritual realm a person who possesses hokmah in reference to God is one who is both knowledgeable and experienced in following God's way. So in the Bible's Wisdom literature being wise means being skilled in godly living. Having God's wisdom means having the ability to cope with life in a God-honoring way. Crawford H. Toy wrote, "wisdom is the knowledge of right living in the highest sense" (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Proverbs, p. 5).3

My prayer is that everyday you will gain both knowledge and wisdom. I pray that you will practice living in a God-honoring and Christ-Centered manner. Have a great day and may God bless each of you.


[email david] david@e-devotionals.org

  1. The New American Standard Bible, (La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation) 1977.
  2. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
  3. Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary