Where Does Wisdom Come From?

We’ve all probably heard it said that wisdom comes from age and experience. Is that true?

This has some truth to it. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I’d like to think I’ve changed a few positions and refined other perspectives. I’ve made more mistakes from which I can learn, and I try not to repeat them. However, does that mean that age and experience are making me wise?

Not necessarily.

If age and experience make us wiser, how can we explain the immaturity of some older people and the maturity of those fitting the description, “wise beyond their years?” How is that some people seem to live with wisdom from childhood and others seem to remain stuck or in regression as they age? How do we explain the 45-year-old single parent still living with their parents and spending most nights at bars or parties rather than with their child? Shouldn’t age and experience have taught them better by now?

Age and experience are but tools of God’s to teach wisdom to people. They are not his only tools, and those tools are only productive for those with ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart awake to God. Wisdom often goes with age and experience. However, I have seen it come and go with experience as well.

Wisdom is something God, not age and experience, provides. This doesn’t mean God doesn’t use age and experience to cultivate wisdom in people. Certainly, from a biblical perspective, there are strong teachings that imply age and experience go with wisdom. Nevertheless, there are narratives and other passage that remind us where true wisdom comes from–and it isn’t from an inanimate thing like “age” or “experience.” It’s from God.

This is why Josiah, though a boy, acts far more wisely than older kings of His ancestry, including even Solomon toward the end of his life. That is why good kings go “bad,” and why people who rebel against God become more wise as they grow in the fear of the Lord, who is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7).

When we use the term “wisdom,” we mean the ability to have greater insight and make better choices. That doesn’t just come with age and experience. It comes from the Lord, who uses age and experience to lead us to greater wisdom. This matters a great deal, because we can take for granted that as we age, we will get wiser. This isn’t necessarily the case.

If we want to grow wiser, we must draw near to God. We must learn of Him, seeking to understand His ways. We must seek earnestly the way of Jesus and as remember what Jesus said, “The wise are those who hear my words and put them into practice” (Matt. 7:24).

That’s wisdom. To hear and obey Jesus.

Intellect, age, and experience often masquerade as wisdom. They are powerful assistants true wisdom, which comes from God alone.

“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6

Thoughts? Do wisdom and experience bring wisdom? If so, how do we explain the presence of the wise young and the foolish older?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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