Wisdom, understanding and knowledge

Exodus 35:31: And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;

The theme of wisdom, understanding and knowledge cut across the bible. When they are in place in your life, then you are positively equipped to tackle life’s challenges.

When prophesying about Jesus, Isaiah said that a branch shall come from the root of Jesse; he shall have the spirit of wisdom, knowledge and understanding (Isaiah 11:1-5).

He shall be of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord he shall not judge (make decisions) by natural understanding, but shall judge with righteous judgment. With wisdom, understanding and knowledge present in the life of Jesus, he always made the right decision, said the right things, and got the right results.

Paul talked about the nation of Israel saying that they have plenty of zeal, but they short on knowledge (Romans 10:2-3), therefore they could not make the right decision about Christ, could not come to having faith in Him. If they embraced the right knowledge about him, they will make the right choice of embracing him as Messiah. But their eyes were blinded from that knowledge.

Paul said that he speaks wisdom, not that of this world or of the princes of the world, which tends to nothing (1Corinthians 2:6-7).

The world may claim to have wisdom, but it pales compared to God’s. In another place Paul said that he prays for the church in Colossians that they will be filled with the knowledge of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9). That means these three: wisdom knowledge and understanding, when it comes to God, can be accessed in the place of prayer. To back that up, James said that if anyone lacks wisdom, be should ask God.

Paul told the Ephesians church that they should not be fools but rather should understand what the will of God is, redeeming the time for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-17). This shows that the wisdom of God is reflected in our lives, in the use of our time.

But there is a difference between wisdom and word of wisdom and between knowledge and the word of knowledge. In the list of the gifts of the spirit that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he mentioned the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge (1Corinthians 12:6-8). The two are supernatural expressions of the Holy Spirit through us. They are things that you don’t arrive at by guess work, or by reasoning, or any other natural means. It is supernatural.

The word of knowledge is being aware of things present and past by the Holy Spirit, while the word of wisdom is about knowing things of the future by the same Holy Spirit. An example is when Jesus knows the thoughts of people (Matthew 9:7).

Paul wrote to Timothy by the word of wisdom that in the last days, perilous times shall come, with men becoming lovers of their own selves rather lovers of God etc (1Timothy 4:1). When prophet Agabus declared that there will be famine in Jerusalem, it was also by the word of wisdom (Acts 11:28).

Jesus has the mandate to impart the understanding of God to us. The bible says no man have seen God at any time, but the only begotten of the father, who is in the bosom of the father, has declared him (John 1:18). Jesus said to disciples: if you have seen me, you have seen the father (John 14:5-7).

There is no understanding of God without Jesus. Also the bible in the book of Hebrews says that God, at sundry times and through various means spoke to the fathers through the prophets but has in this last days, spoken to us by his son Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Paul calls Jesus the wisdom of God (1Corinthians 1:24). He is the means of God getting things done. It was through him that he got the work of salvation done. He is the means of bringing a change to the world. He is the channel of God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding, as the Way (John 14:6).

The bible says that we are complete in Jesus, who is the head of all principalities and powers (Colossians 2:10). Jesus, shows us the way to God, leads us into His truth, and his knowledge is life in us (John 14:6), since he is the way the truth and the life. Therefore, our receiving Christ starts an ongoing journey of increase in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Everything of God that is communicated to man is embodied by Jesus. He is called the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). Wisdom, knowledge and understanding flows from him.

Wisdom has to do with actions, knowledge is about information we have in our minds, while understanding of God is in our spirit (all in relation to God).


As mentioned earlier, Paul says that he prays for the Colossians that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. From that premise, let us examine the threesome summarily.


From those words of Paul, knowledge is what you are filled with. The knowledge of God is the accumulation of truths and facts as regarding the Lord and his ways. Knowledge is to be pursued. The length of time that you are willing to invest in the acquisition of knowledge and your degree of openness, will determine how much of it you will have. There needs to be a hunger for knowledge before we can have it. Paul said “that I may know Christ.” That was his lifelong pursuit.


Since wisdom is mostly regarded as being founded on the fear of the lord (Psalm 111:10), it is therefore attached to about how we act. The fear of God is reflected in doing what He wants. As mentioned earlier, Paul said that we should “act” with wisdom towards those who are outside (unbelievers), redeeming the time because the days are evil. It involves the practical use of time, to achieve specific aims. Wisdom also plays out in dispute resolution (1Corinthians 6:5).


In his words to the Colossians, Paul refers to spiritual understanding. This is different from what to do (in wisdom), from what you know (knowledge); understanding is about who you are. You make act right and know the right things, but it is the right understanding that will allow us to impact others for God. (Understanding is realising why you do what you do.) There is no walking with God without understanding. Paul said that we need to understand what the will of God is. You can carry out the will of God, know His will, but until you understand the will of God, you cannot walk with Him.

Amos wrote: can to walk together except they agree (Amos 3:3)? That is the level of understanding the will of God; and choosing it consistently over time. That is walking with God. You can’t agree without having a shared understanding.

Understanding is a living factor of a formidable relationship with God. You can be taught wisdom, you can acquire knowledge, but understanding reflects the divine connection that makes us able to think like God.



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