Tuesday, December 9, 2008

7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: (7) Bible citations

Here are Bible citations regarding Wisdom. This is, of course, very thoroughly discussed and exhorted in the Bible, so there are many of them, falling into four general categories of: Spiritual Wisdom (this is the gift of the Holy Spirit), Worldly Wisdom (general secular wisdom in life), Wisdom of God (Wisdom as one of God’s attributes, that only he has) and the Wisdom of Christ.

Spiritual Wisdom

[In this passage God appeared to Solomon and told him that he will grant a request that Solomon will make of him].

2 Chronicles 1:10-12
Give me, therefore, wisdom and knowledge to lead this people, for otherwise who could rule this great people of yours? God then replied to Solomon: “Since this has been your wish and you have not asked for riches, treasures and glory, nor for the life of those who hate you, nor even for a long life for yourself, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge in order to rule my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are given to you; but I will also give you riches, treasures and glory, such as kings before you never had, nor will those have them who come after you.”

[Notice that Solomon asks God for Wisdom and Knowledge. This same event is also told in 1 Kings 3, and notice how Solomon’s request to God is recorded in this scripture.]

1 Kings 3:7-9, 12
O Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”
I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.

[One should not be concerned when one sees in the Bible slightly different wording of the same event; it actually provides more information about the event, rather than cast the event itself into doubt. This dialogue between Solomon and God took place while he slept in his dream, so in order for this dialogue to be preserved at all, obviously Solomon must have told others what he had dreamed, and put words to the speechless dialogue that took place between himself and God. 1 Kings 3 explains more about what Solomon was requesting based on his “motivational feelings” while 2 Chronicles is phrased more as one would be precise in wording what is one’s “motivational thinking.” The fact that both forms of recounting the same event exist is the first example in the Bible of the different nuances of the three gifts of the Holy Spirit, Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom. When Solomon recounts what he asks for God in terms of “deliverables” that he is asking for, he asks for Knowledge and Wisdom. When Solomon recounts his concern that he felt he needed a good heart with understanding, Solomon is recognizing that knowledge or wisdom without understanding is false. God confirms that correctness of Solomon’s request by responding using the same word, Understanding, and confirms that it will be Solomon’s “heart” that is both Understanding and Wise.]

Job 28:12-15, 18, 20
But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
Man knows nothing to equal it, nor is it to be had in the land of the living.
The abyss declares, “It is not in me”’ and the sea says, “I have it not.”
It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
Whence then comes wisdom, and where is the place of understanding?

Job 32:6-10
So Elihu, son of Barachel the Buzite, spoke out and said: I am young and you are very old; therefore I held back and was afraid to declare to you my knowledge.
Days should speak, I thought, and many years teach wisdom.
But it is a spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.
It is not those of many days who are wise, nor the aged who understand the right.

[Here is the Biblical reference for the assertion that Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom are gifts of the Holy Spirit, and not obtained by humans as a natural outcome of age and experience.]

Proverbs 1:20-23
Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
In the open squares she raises her voice;
Down the crowded ways she calls out,
At the city gates she utters her words:
How long, you simple ones, will you love inanity,
How long will you turn away at my reproof?
Lo! I will pour out to you my spirit,
I will acquaint you with my words.

Proverbs 4:5-9
“Get wisdom, get understanding!
Do not forget or turn aside from the words I utter.
Forsake her not, and she will preserve you; love her and she will safeguard you;
The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom; at the cost of all you have, get understanding.
Extol her and she will exalt you; she will bring you honors if you embrace her;
She will put on your head a graceful diadem; a glorious crown will she bestow on you.

Proverbs 9:1
Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns.
[The columns are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit].

Proverbs 14:1
Wisdom builds her house, but Folly tears hers down with her own hands.

Ecclesiastes 7:11-12
Wisdom and an inheritance are good, and an advantage to those that see the sun.
For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money; and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

Ecclesiastes 9:16-17
Though I had said, “Wisdom is better than force,” yet the wisdom of the poor man is despised and his words go unheeded.
“The quiet words of the wide are better heeded than the shout of a ruler of fools”-!

Wisdom 1:6-7
For wisdom is a kindly spirit, yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips;
Because God is the witness of his inmost self and the sure observer of his heart and the listener to his tongue.
For the spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what man says.

[This scripture is cited and applied to the Holy Spirit in the liturgy of the Mass during Pentecost].

[This verse reminds humans that exactly because the Holy Spirit is kindly and confers gifts, by its nature of being within all humans, the Holy Spirit, and thus God, knows all that is felt and said within the hearts of humans, and all that humans say or do].

Isaiah 33:6
That which makes her [Zion] seasons lasting, the riches that save her, are wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is her treasure.

[Once again, the gift of Fear of the Lord is the basis of all the subsequent gifts; so essential and special is it that Fear of the Lord is likened to treasure, as in the treasury of the holy land of Zion].

Daniel 2:20-21
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power are his.
He causes the changes of the times and seasons, makes kings and unmakes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who understand.

Hosea 14:10
Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the Lord, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.

Luke 2:47, 52
And all who heard him were astounded at his [the boy Jesus] understanding and his answers.
And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man.

[Jesus demonstrates in public at the age of twelve his command of the gift of the Holy Spirit of Understanding. He continues to advance in the public demonstration of Wisdom, as he ages, before man, but he also is increasing in his internal gift of Wisdom and favor that only God sees. “Before” means “in front of” or “is visible to.”]

[The Twelve Apostles said] Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task.

1 Corinthians 1:24-5
But to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

[By the way, St. Paul does not mean that God is ever weak. What he means by “weakness of God” is the times and places where the presence of God is not strongly felt by humans. Even then, where the touch of God among a people at a particular place or time is very slight, the least of God’s wisdom and strength is far more than anything that even the strongest and wisest humans can exert.]

Colossians 4:2-6
Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; at the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I must speak.
Conduct yourself wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one.

[St. Paul, who is writing from prison, is reminding the readers of his letter to the congregation at Colossae east of Ephesus that they must conduct themselves with the Wisdom given to them by the Holy Spirit toward “outsiders” (those not yet of the faith). We know he is not referring to secular wisdom because he is explaining that God is the one who opens the door to even give them the words and the opportunity to explain the mystery of Jesus Christ].

James 3:13-18
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

[St. James very clearly demarks the difference between secular wisdom, which when boastful is unspiritual and even demonic, and the gifts of true Wisdom and Understanding, which is constant and sows peace].

Worldly Wisdom

Sirach 10:1,3
A wise magistrate lends stability to his people, and the government of a prudent man is well ordered
A wanton king destroys his people, but a city grows through the wisdom of its princes.

Sirach 8:9
Reject not the tradition of old men which they have learned from their fathers;
From it you will obtain the knowledge how to answer in time of need.

Ecclesiastes 1:18
For in much [worldly] wisdom there is much sorrow, and he who stores up [worldly] knowledge stores up grief.

Jeremiah 4:22
Fools my people are, they know me not;
Senseless children they are, having no understanding;
They are wise in evil, but know not how to do good.

1 Corinthians 2:19-20, 22

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.”
Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for [worldly] wisdom.

1 Corinthians 3:18-20
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written:
“He catches the wise in their own ruses,” and again:
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”

Wisdom of God

Daniel 5:10-11
When the queen heard of the discussion between the king and his lords, she entered the banquet hall and said, “O king, live forever! Be not troubled in mind, nor look so pale! There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy God; during the lifetime of your father he was seen to have brilliant knowledge and god-like wisdom.”

Proverbs 3:19-20
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, established the heavens by understanding;
By his knowledge the depths break open, and the clouds drop down dew.

[While Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge are, to humans, gifts that they receive from the Holy Spirit, to God Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge are three of the “tools” that he uses to perform his will, such as in the Act of Creation. This is a very rich but very difficult proverb to fully comprehend. Think of it like this analogy: Wisdom is like the clay that God used to shape the planet earth, while Understanding is the pen that God uses to write the heavens and the stars into existence, and Knowledge is like a motion that God makes in order to start processes on earth, such as the floating of clouds, the falling of rain, the settling of dew].

Romans 11:33-35
Oh, the depth of riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given him anything that he may be repaid?”

Ephesians 3: 8-10
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light [for all] what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.

[St. Paul here understands that he is given grace not to comprehend God’s own Wisdom, but to have a role in unfolding the plan that God has which springs from God’s Wisdom. That is what he means when he says that the wisdom of God “might now be made known” in earth and in the heavens… not that St. Paul is revealing God’s mysterious Wisdom, but that heaven and earth can witness that he is doing his part in the fulfillment of God’s mysterious Wisdom, unrevealed in total as it is, by preaching the revealed riches of Christ to the Gentiles.]

Wisdom of Christ

Colossians 2: 2-3
That their hearts may be encouraged as they are brought together in love, to have all the richness of fully assured understanding, for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

[St. Paul explains through this image that Jesus Christ is like the Wisdom of God that is in solid form and perceivable to human eyes, like an actual earthly treasure. One can see Christ and thus perceive the covering of the treasure of God’s Wisdom and Knowledge. St. Paul is saying that one can have-and indeed even be assured of-having God’s gifts of Understanding, Knowledge and Wisdom if one follows Christ, because hidden in Christ are those things that may otherwise be out of reach when one tries to comprehend them within God himself].

Isaiah 11:2
The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a sprit of wisdom and understanding,
A sprit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.

[The great prophet Isaiah, who prophesies the coming of the Messiah, Emmanuel, explains that the Holy Spirit will rest directly upon Emmanuel, conferring on him the gifts of God. Notice that five of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed here in this one place: Fear of the Lord, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel and Knowledge. Fortitude is implied by “strength” and Piety is implied by the emphasis on Fear of the Lord, which will be the Messiah’s “delight.”]

[See, Catholic doctrine is not just pulled out of someone’s hat. When Catholic doctrine proclaims the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that is drawn from centuries of prayerful study of the actual scriptures not made up by a bunch of Councils and Popes who have nothing else to do!]

Matthew 13:54
He [Jesus] came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?”

1 Corinthians 1:30
It is due to him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

[Again, St. Paul explains that Jesus becomes the personification of the Wisdom of God, so that the Wisdom of God that is inaccessible to humankind can be seen and touched, understood and followed because it not only resides in Jesus Christ, but he is the walking manifestation of the component of God’s Wisdom that pertains to God’s will regarding the ministry of the Messiah. That is why St. Paul also explains that Jesus Christ is also the actual living manifestation of God given righteousness, sanctification and redemption. These are the authorities that render Jesus to be judge, sacred of God, and provider of salvation. In other words, if you could take four “things” that only God can provide, and which are invisible and impossible to understand, God has willed those four things, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption, become solid and perceivable in the personage of Jesus Christ].