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On wisdom and good judgement

The church we attend in Golden is spending the month of June going through the ancient Hebrew proverbs in the Christian Old Testament. These proverbs (collected in the book that bears that name) are attributed to King Solomon of Israel, son of David. Solomon is regarded in many Christian and Jewish circles as the wisest man who ever lived.

In order to keep myself on track I’m reading the Proverb that corresponds with the day’s date. So yesterday (4 June) I read Proverbs 4. Today I read Proverbs 5, etc.

So in my reading yesterday I came across an interesting distinction that the author of Proverbs draws between “getting wisdom” and “developing good judgement.” (v. 4). I hadn’t given this much thought before but the author implies that wisdom is something we “get” – we either have it or we don’t. It also implies that it’s something that is received, or given to us by someone else or by circumstances, and not something we can necessarily attain simply by pursuit. By contrast, the author refers to good judgement as something that we are able to develop.

My takeaway from this distinction is that wisdom is what we pursue (as though we are searching for lost gold or silver – see Proverbs 2) and that as we gain wisdom, we develop good judgement. In other words, perhaps good judgement is what we DO with gained wisdom.

The corollary to this in my mind is that the quality of my judgement is dependent on – and an indication of – the quality of my wisdom.

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