Knowing God, chapter 10: God’s wisdom and ours

The old Reformed theologians classified the attributes of God in two groups: incommunicable and communicable.

The incommunicable are those which are God’s alone and highlight His transcendence, e.g. His independence (His self-existence and self-sufficiency); His immutability; His infinity; and His simplicity (the fact that there are in Him no elements that can conflict).

The communicable attributes are those He communicated to man when He made him, and consist of moral attributes such as goodness, truth, holiness, righteousness, etc. These moral qualities were lost at the Fall, but now in fulfilment of God’s redemption plan, we believers are being renewed in the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18) and of God (Col 3:10).

Wisdom is one of the communicable attributes, and the Bible has a lot to say about it. The first 9 chapters of Proverbs are an exhortation to seek it (Prov 3:13). A similar emphasis is found in the NT: Eph 5:15,17; Col 4:5; James 1:5.

What steps must a man take to acquire godly wisdom?

  1. One must learn to reverence God: Ps 111:10; Prov 9:10; Job 28:28. “Not until we become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty, acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom be ours.”
  2. One must learn to receive God’s word: Ps 119:98-99; Col 3:16. We do this by immersing ourselves in the Scriptures which are able to make us wise for salvation (2 Tim 3:15)

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Packer likens the gift of wisdom to being taught how to drive, an analogy I found most useful.

“What matters in driving is the speed and appropriateness of your reactions to things, and the soundness of you judgment as to what scope a situation gives you. You do not ask yourself why the road should narrow or screw itself into a dog-leg wiggle just where it does, nor why that van should be parked where it is, nor why the lady (or gentleman) in front of you should hug the crown of the road so lovingly; you simply try to see and do the right thing in the actual situation that presents itself. The effect of divine wisdom is to enable you and me to do just that in the actual situations of everyday life.”

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Wisdom isn’t a sharing in all God’s knowledge,  and thankfully so, or else God wouldn’t be God and we would be tempted to pride.

The effect of His wisdom is “to make us more humble, more joyful, more godly, more quick-sighted as to His will, more resolute in the doing of it…”