God's Wisdom

Question: Why do we need the “wisdom of God” to accomplish God’s work?

Answer: Paul gave some strongly worded warnings about flawed human wisdom, which he called “the wisdom of the world.” He then told the people that we need God’s wisdom to accomplish God’s work. Profound reverence for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

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1 Corinthians 1:19-20

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (In other words, the pure gospel of Jesus Christ will expose false teachings, false philosophies, etc. and destroy them in the minds of faithful saints so they are not led astray by such things.)

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (In other words, hasn’t the true gospel exposed the foolishness of man-made doctrines and philosophies?)

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Elder Neil L. Andersen, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

...I want to emphasize several principles of wisdom. First, in our age of information and knowledge, we must seek after wisdom. Wisdom is multidimensional and comes in different sizes and colors. Wisdom gained early brings enormous blessings. Wisdom in one area may not be transferable to another. And finally, the wisdom of the world, while in many cases very valuable, is most valuable when it humbly bows to the wisdom of God.

The scriptures describe two types of wisdom: the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. The wisdom of the world has both a positive and a negative component. In the darkest description, it could be described as a partial truth, mixed with intelligence and manipulation, to achieve selfish or evil purposes.

There is another kind of wisdom of the world that is not nearly so sinister. In fact it is very positive. This wisdom is consciously acquired through study, reflection, observation, and hard work. It is very valuable and helpful in the things we do. To good and decent people, it comes as we experience our mortality...More important, the wisdom that brings success in the world must be willing to step behind the wisdom of God and not think that it can substitute for it.

Remember: all wisdom is not created equal.

The Psalmist said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). What the scripture means is that a “profound reverence” for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That profound reverence comes because our Heavenly Father “has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth” (Mosiah 4:9). His wisdom is perfect. It is pure. It is unselfish.

This wisdom, at times, will be opposite the wisdom of the world, meaning the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world will come in direct conflict one with another...

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The wisdom of God will not come to us by entitlement; we must be willing to seek after it. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5; emphasis added).

The wisdom of God is a spiritual gift. “Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich” (D&C 6:7; emphasis added). Seeking for the wisdom of God is always accompanied by obedience to the commandments...

The Apostle Paul said:

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. …

Simon Dewey

Simon Dewey

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Corinthians 2:11, 13; emphasis added)..

“Where is the wise? … hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:18–19; emphasis added).

The test is often whether we will allow the wisdom of God to be our guiding course when it moves opposite the wisdom of the world...Sadly, the wisdom of the world can deceive capable people. Joseph Smith said it this way: “There are a great many wise men, and women too, in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake.”...

There is much we can learn right now about wisdom. I promise you that the Lord’s blessings will attend you as you seek for wisdom—the wisdom of God.

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We believe that the Constitution was brought about by God to ensure a nation where liberty could abound and where his gospel could flourish. Joseph Smith said, “The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard—it is founded in the wisdom of God—it is a heavenly banner.” (Petersen, Great Prologue, p. 75.)

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Sources: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 131; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 2, Volume 3, by David J. Ridges, 137; Excerpts from Ensign, January 2013, “Reverence for God Is the Beginning of Wisdom,” By Elder Neil L. Andersen, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.