The Traits of the Wise

If you spend much time in the Book of Proverbs, you might imagine these teachings portrayed visually as a series of caricatures - most notably the WISE MAN (OR WOMAN) and THE FOOL. Jesus uses this same character dichotomy to tell a story of choosing foundations for one’s house (Matthew 7:24-27). Here’s some of how Proverbs presents the traits of the wise man. He knows the value of…

  • Tact (15:1)
  • Confidentiality (11:13)
  • Patience (14:29)
  • Honesty (15:31-32; 27:6)
  • Forgiveness (17:9)
  • Loyalty (17:17; 18:24)
  • Considerate Behavior (25:17; 27:14)
  • Practical Help (27:10)

Beyond these, the wise man also knows the dangers of...

  • Bought Friendship (19:4)
  • Gossip (20:19)
  • Anger (22:24-25)
  • Flattery (27:21)
  • Misplaced Sympathy (25:20)

But if these ethical sketches of a person who receives and applies wisdom may seem too idealistic and merely theoretical, the Bible climaxes the theme of WISDOM with its embodiment in one man. No, not Solomon. Rather, “one who is greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31)…”Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Wisdom is not just an ideal. It has arms and legs. It has a body. And you who are Christians are part of that body. Therefore, you have access to the "manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10) and the “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17). If you receive HIS WISDOM in humble faith (James 1:5-6; 3:13,17), He will enable you to live out the teachings of Proverbs. So allow His Wisdom to become incarnate in you as it was in Him.


To His Glory,

Caleb Cochran

Photo credit: Ding Zhou via / CC BY-NC-SA