Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge

Today’s reading: Leviticus 9; Psalm 10; Proverbs 24; 1 Thessalonians 3

April 6th, 2016

Through wisdom is an house builded;
And by understanding it is established:
And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.
– Proverbs 24:3–4

Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding

Are wisdom, understanding and knowledge the same thing or are they different? I have come to believe the answer: yes. They all come from the same source: God. They all point to the same thing: truth. However, three distinctions are made and I am inclined to believe so with reason. In seeking answers in the scriptures and by older wiser Christians, I have come to adopt what I call a working definition of each. I’ll share these definitions with you that you can work them out for yourself. Weather these or others, I encourage you to find a working definition of these words that go past the worldly and draw from God’s word. As we read through God’s word seeking out these definitions, God will show us the truth.

  • Wisdom, is seeing things as God sees things.
  • Understanding, is knowing how a thing will end.
  • Knowledge, is discerning the truth.

An important distinction, there are two types of each of these: worldly and heavenly. Here we wrestle with the heavenly.


Seeing things as God sees them is, to me, a tall order. My question when hearing this was, “is that possible?”. Searching the scripture leads me to believe that it is. Wisdom, as understanding and knowledge, are given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:18, Isaiah 11:2), and so my estimation is that we can rely on the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Scripture tells us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), and so I surmise that to the degree we are inclined to seek out how God views something, through a right fear of His perspective (the truth), is the degree to which God will aid us in our quest. Wisdom is seeing things as God sees things. Those with wisdom have a right fear of the LORD which leads them to seek His way in all things. God is sovereign in all things. Wisdom is the principal thing (Proverbs 4:7). It is foundational. This longing to search for the truth is the source of achieving understanding and knowledge.


Understanding how something will come out and acting in our best interest is something we all do to a certain degree. From not touching the hot stove to saving for retirement, we all consider the future and move to avoid pain and get what we desire. Heavenly understanding depends on applying God’s law being the source of this principle. If we miss the source we end up in a perverted place and are deceived. Understanding with this world as its source would have us plan and toil for our temporal future. Brothers and Sisters, I am here to tell you this world is a lie. It will not deliver on what your soul was designed for and pines for. Sunny sandy beaches without bosses will not give you freedom from tears and pain and sorrow. This destination lies in eternity (Rev 21:4) and we as followers of Christ are called to have eternal understanding. Consider the truth of the future and plan according. Use what you have been given to store up treasure in heaven. Have eternal understanding. Those with eternal understanding seek out and obey God’s law because they have seen the future and know how things will end. Ecclesiastes, the book where Solomon, the wisest to ever live, seeks out all things with the wisdom God gave him, concludes this way:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. – Ecclesiastes 12:13–14


The deceiver is the prince of this world and so the world is full of lies. God shows those who fear Him the truth. Consider the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Once the ability to discern is had, the receiver is responsible for their choices. Bad move in my book (and God’s). I would rather depend on God for all things. Adam and Eve were deceived and thought, “If we eat this we will be like God and not need to depend on him, wouldn’t that be great?” All we like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). Think about what a sheep does. They are constantly unaware of reality and paying the price. They see green grass in the distance so they think, “that looks great to me, I’m going to go get some.” Not realizing all the danger that lies where their desires leading them (Proverbs 18:1, James 1:14-15). The Good Shepherd all the while is leading the sheep to green pastures, unbeknownst to them. Those with knowledge are able to discern the truth from lies. May we all depend on God to show us all things in truth, turning away from the lies of the deceiver that we can make our own way. May we depend on the LORD in all things. May we trust in the LORD with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. May we acknowledge him in all our ways and He always direct our paths. Amen.

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