If you look at our culture here in America, we value education and knowledge. We send our kids to school to be taught by someone who has trained specifically to teach a certain age group of children. We teach them about math, how to read and write, science, music and sports. If we are lucky, someone will teach them about good character, what it means to be honest, consistent and show up on time – all qualities we want in our employees, co-workers and friends. While I believe education and knowledge are great, (I’ve personally spent a lot of time in school and continue to learn new things), it is pale in comparison to wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to discern some of life’s more difficult steps. It is the guide when logic or emotions fail us. How many times have you woken up and not felt like going to work? Then something tells you, “If you don’t go to work, you won’t have money. If you don’t have money you can’t eat or stay in this home.” Who knows, maybe that’s just my own personal pep-talk or you may call it common sense, wisdom helps us navigate life better than emotions, logic, or knowledge.
So back to the original question, Can wisdom be taught? I believe the answer to that question is, yes and here’s why.
The book of Proverbs from the Bible teaches that wisdom is better than knowledge. It teaches that the way of the wise isn’t that far off from where you and I are now. At one point the author portrays wisdom as someone calling out to us from the streets. We can learn to be wise, we just have to want it first.
Here’s a piece from the beginning of the book that illustrates what I’m saying far better.
Proverbs 1: 1-7 (NLT)
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
I keep coming back to these verses. In my opinion, they set the tone for the rest of the book of Proverbs. They set a course to define what being a wise person looks like. If you think about it, wisdom doesn’t come easy. It takes work. It takes time. There isn’t an app for immediate wisdom. To become wise, we must submit ourselves to the teaching of others wiser than ourselves and listen.