September 3, 2018 – Rick Boxx If you are like me, you spend a lot of time seeking wisdom for the many work decisions that need made. And I think you would agree that knowledge and understanding also are important to the decision-making process. I have found it interesting to discover many verses in the Bible make reference to wisdom, knowledgeand understanding all in the same passage.
These three words have different meanings, but the Scriptures point out they build on each other. It says Understanding comes from learning God’s Word. Knowledge comes from the experiences and skills God provides to us, and Wisdom comes from an accumulation of the understanding and knowledge we receive over time. All three traits, however, ultimately come from God. As Proverbs 2:6 teaches, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
To better comprehend how they relate, let’s take a look at each term individually, beginning with Understanding.
The Hebrew meaning of this word has been defined as, “perceptive insight with the ability to judge.” A consulting client once asked me and his other advisors to help him with an issue. One of the advisors recommended a plan that was immoral. It was my time in God’s Word that enabled me to realize the perils of this choice and to gain understanding of the situation, resulting in a better solution.
Job 28:28 teaches, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.” To gain understanding we need to use our senses to listen and observe. But the ability to judge appropriately comes from understanding God’s Word.
Knowledge comes from God, through the experiences, skills, talents and gifts He provides, allowing us to confront in life – provided we’re humble enough to learn.
As a young loan officer at a bank, my first Small Business Administration loan was a disaster. SBA loans require lots of attention to detail and dozens of documentation challenges. With no previous experience, I made a mess of a loan application, but after my superior critiqued my performance, I humbly accepted my failure. That failure provided the knowledge I needed to excel in SBA loans later. In my career
Provers 1:7 teaches, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Fear of the Lord – reverential awe – provides the humility necessary to gain knowledge and excel later.
Wisdomemerges out of the knowledge and understanding we gain over the years. When we have made enough mistakes, the knowledge gained enables us to have wisdom. You could say the application of wisdom is strategic, while knowledge is more tactical.
My first business began with a business loan of 21% interest. Painful lessons learned from that loan, and bank customers of mine overextended financially, provided me with wisdom to counsel others on the perils of debt.
Applying the lessons we’ve learned over time provides a pathway for us to gain wisdom, but once again it requires humility. As Proverbs 9:10 sums it up, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Copyright 2018, Unconventional Business Network Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments emails, visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org.His latest book, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”
- Prior to reading this “Monday Manna,” how would you define and distinguish between Knowledge, Understandingand Wisdom?
- What do you think of Rick Boxx’s distinctions between the three terms? Do the differences even matter, from your perspective? Explain your answer.
- Do you agree with the assertion that all three ultimately come from God? Why or why not?
- Which of these three is the most important, in your opinion?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 3:13-15, 10:14-15, 14:8, 15:7,21, 16:16,21, 18:4, 19:20