By Dr. Karl D. Coke
heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew." This order,
wisdom - understanding - knowledge, seems to be the order in which God proceeds. God began with
wisdom to design the universe. Out of God's wisdom flowed God's understanding as He placed the objects
in the universe. It was God's knowledge that separated the waters which nurtured the earth to bring forth
life. Solomon indicated the primacy of wisdom when he said, "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom."
(Proverbs 4:7) Further, he said, "I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and
discretion. When God asked Solomon, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you," Solomon answered,
"Give me wisdom." (II Chronicles 1:7, 10) It seems that "wisdom" comes first, then understanding and
finally knowledge. James seems to confirm the importance of wisdom coming first by saying, "If any of
you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be
given to him." James did not say, "If any of you lacks understanding" or "knowledge." He said "wisdom."
If this order is to be observed and followed (that is wisdom releasing understanding which in turn produces
knowledge) then perhaps man should educate himself accordingly.
When one looks at the Western educational system superimposed upon us by Rome and Greece, it is
immediately apparent that educators follow the exact reversal of wisdom - understanding - knowledge.
Western man is taught to follow the process of knowledge - understanding - wisdom. Students are told
repeatedly to "gather as much knowledge as possible, from this accumulated knowledge you will gain
understanding, and then you can declare yourself wise!" The great mockery of this procedure is that
science must constantly change its conclusions when new and different knowledge becomes available.
Have any of us forgotten when scientists declared the earth flat? Or, do we remember the evolutionists
who must constantly change their time periods? These are the people, like their father, Charles Darwin,
who vainly gather as much knowledge about animal life as possible.
Immanuel Kant's "Dare to Know" motto has done more than attack the Roman Catholic Church. It has set
man on a path of self-destruction. It did not help usher in the "Age of Reason" to replace religion. It
reversed God's learning process. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
(Proverbs 14:12) Man should begin his journey to obtain knowledge by first getting wisdom. "By wisdom
a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with
rare and beautiful treasures." (Proverbs 24:3-4) Even the design, construction and furnishing of a house
follows the procedure of wisdom - understanding - knowledge. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of
wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10) "Know also that wisdom is
sweet to your soul; if you find it there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." (Proverbs
24:14) "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom." (Proverbs 4:7) "Greeks look for wisdom" (I Corinthians
1:22) but they are looking for it at the wrong end! Greeks try to find wisdom through the doorway
of knowledge. Their procedure is reversed! It seems the doorway to knowledge is wisdom. Man must first
observe the wisdom of God. From observing God's wisdom comes understanding. Acquired understanding
leads to knowledge which is universally and easily applied.
The Church mindlessly follows the world's learning procedure. One must ask, "Why have seminaries drifted into faithlessness?
Why do they produce God-denying clergy who lead congregations away from God? Why are they in rapid
decline, reduced to being libraries and have ever smaller enrollments?" The answer could be that they are
staffed by faithless, God-denying, self-accredited personnel who have dedicated themselves to opposing
God's learning procedure. To the American theologian, Paul Van Buren, who loved Freidrich Nietzsche's
proclamation "God is dead," I say, "Freidrich Nietzsche is dead" - God. The vain attempt of the seminary
to be "accepted" by the liberal-arts community has led it away from God's learning procedure. Once the
theologian ceases to begin with wisdom, then faithless, God-denying religion replaces Godly life-style.
Bible scholars above all others must return to God's learning procedure: wisdom - understanding
- knowledge. Since there is a Messiah, even Jesus, Paul said of Him, "in whom are hidden all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3)." Notice wisdom comes before knowledge.
Paul warned us against false teachers. He warned, "So that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding
arguments." (Colossians 2:4) Paul said to Timothy, "Turn away from Godless chatter and the opposing
ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, ..." (I Timothy 6:20) Notice how "knowledge" comes first. It is
clear from these passages that philosophical teachings of this world are false, opposing and fine-sounding
arguments which do not come from or lead to Messiah.
God's wisdom has practical aims. James says that God's wisdom leads humans into daily applications of
knowledge. He says, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,
considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (James 3:17) "Who is wise
and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes
from wisdom." (James 3:13)
God's Word God's way is more important than just doing God's Word any way one chooses. Proverbs 3:19-20 suggests that God's path to applied knowledge is wisdom - understanding -
knowledge. Perhaps man should firstly observe the "wisdom" of God in creation. Secondly, man should
gain "understanding" from having observed God's wisdom. Lastly, man could fruitfully apply the "knowledge"
he gained from understanding. Why is this critical? If we reverse this procedure in any discipline
we end up leading people away from God. Alleged Bible scholars may think their worldly procedure is
harmless debate, but they are actually helping to form eternal conclusions. The easily intimidated Believer
is led down paths. The worldly path of knowledge - understanding - wisdom may be harmless to the
platypus but this same procedure theologically has led to the denial of God. The Godly path of wisdom -
understanding - knowledge may be useless to the platypus but this tried and true procedure has led millions
to accept God's Messiah and go on to lead the world with knowledge in every discipline.
Western universities worship at the feet of Godless teachers such as Plato and Socrates. They have purchased these doctrines of men with all their wealth. Yet, their graduates are as bankrupt as their philosophies. They cannot answer the true needs of mankind. Western universities and seminaries dispense knowledge without establishing
either its need or revealing its source. What has it gotten us? It has resulted in lawlessness, immorality,
alternative life-styles and disease. Have they forgotten that society is held together by Godly families? It
appears so as they oppose "traditional family values" by more openly teaching "sexual freedom." "To your
own self be true" is their creed. Their Bible is situational ethic and psychologists are their "accredited"
pastors. "Enough," I say. Let us return at once to God's learning procedure of:
wisdom - capable of judging, skillful
understanding - distinguish, to separate, to discern, to perceive
knowledge - God revealed information, insight, instruction
The doorway to knowledge is wisdom. The tool to apply knowledge is understanding. Ask
God for wisdom today! He will give it to you liberally. As you observe the wisdom of God you will gain
understanding. With newly gained understanding you will be better able to apply knowledge. (KARL D. COKE) ---http://www.karlcoke.com/pdf/WisdomUnderstanding.pdf