Knowledge vs. Wisdom
“To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding.”
Parents impart knowledge. Good parents impart wisdom. It is good for children to know 2+2=4. It is better that they know that behind the strict mathematical code is a God of order, organization, detail, and exactness. It may be good that our children play sports, but it is far better that they see the LORD behind every event in their lives.
What is wisdom? Some have said it is the practical application of knowledge, but I don’t think that definition goes far enough. James 3:15–17 describes two kinds of wisdom: earthly wisdom and wisdom from above. Earthly wisdom may be the practical application of knowledge, but people go to hell if they only have earthly wisdom. A builder may use mathematical measurements to wisely build a house. But that doesn’t mean he is wise!
Fathers may think they succeed if they teach their boy a skill. Moms may think they succeed if they teach their daughters to keep house. But heavenly wisdom is more than the practice of knowledge. This wisdom is “from above.” That is, it finds its home in the Godhead. Colossians tells us that in Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). In Colossians 1:9–10, Paul prays that we would be filled “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…in the knowledge of God.”
True wisdom is not teaching our children how to behave in public, to cook, to play ball, to drive a car, or even to be a responsible adult! True wisdom is teaching our children to know and love the Lord. The wise parent points to God in daily conversation with their children: in disappointments, in stories of God’s providence in their life, in how God answered prayer in Dad’s job, by reminding them that God made the moon, or by remarking that God painted a beautiful sunset.
When we are so God conscious that we reveal the LORD in every circumstance of our children’s lives, then we are imparting wisdom.
Final thought: Are we just parents, or are we wise parents?