One of the greatest questions I think any young Christian (whether young as a person or young as a Christian–or both!) can ask is this: How can I become wise?
To say that the Scriptures speak highly of wisdom is an understatement indeed (see here for just one example). So how does one attain it?
Here is a very incomplete list. I compiled it a little while ago when reading through the book of Proverbs. I wanted to take note of everywhere the book gave instructions on how to become wise.
The funny thing about wisdom is that it’s not just attained by anyone. It begins with a humble heart and is wrought in us only as we diligently and continually look for it.
Wisdom, in the biblical sense, speaks more of the ability to skilfully live a godly life in a fallen world than it does to the mere amassing of knowledge. To be wise is to be blessed: a life that is approved by God is a happy life indeed (in the truest sense of happiness).
So how does one become wise? Here’s my (ever-growing) list. Feel free to make any additions from verses I’ve missed!
How Can I Become Wise?
Prov 10 8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
Prov 10 17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
Prov 11 2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Prov 12 1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Prov 12 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Prov 13 1 A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Prov 13 10 By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.
Prov 13 13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
Prov 13 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Prov 13 18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honoured.
Prov 13 20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Prov 13 24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Prov 14 15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
Prov 15 5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
Prov 15 10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.
Prov 15 12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
Prov 15 31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.
Prov 15 32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
Prov 17 10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.
Prov 18 2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Prov 18 15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Prov 19 20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Prov 19 25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
Prov 20 18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.
Prov 23 12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
Prov 24 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counsellors there is victory.
Prov 25 12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
Prov 27 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Prov 27 9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
Prov 28 9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
Prov 28 23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favour than he who flatters with his tongue.
Prov 28 26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Prov 29 1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
Prov 29 5 A man who flatters his neighbour spreads a net for his feet.
Prov 29 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Prov 29 17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
If you want, you can download a pdf version of this list to print or for further mediation here.
For more thoughts on the connections between humility and wisdom, you can download a sermon I preached a while ago, called ‘From Poverty of Spirit to Riches of Wisdom.‘