Tag Archives: Solomon

Intelligence, Knowledge and Wisdom

Intelligence, knowledge and wisdom are all things we possess to a certain degree. Many would like to see growth in each of these areas throughout our lives. Is there a difference between them? Can we personally contribute to an increased level of each? Let’s start with definitions of each. First, intelligence: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

Synonyms:          intellectual capacity, mental capacity, intellect, mind, brain(s), IQ, brainpower, judgment, reasoning, understanding, comprehension

Those who study intelligence (they must be intelligent to do so, right?) further break down the definition into either two or even as many as nine types versions of intelligence. The two primary types are crystallized (the ability to use all the learned knowledge and experience stored in our heads) and fluid (general ability to think abstractly, reason, identify patterns, solve problems, and discern relationships). Here’s the list of the nine types:

  1. Linguistic Intelligence — ability to use words
  2. Spatial Intelligence — ability to imagine pictures in your mind
  3. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence — ability to use your body in various situations
  4. Musical Intelligence —ability to use and understand music
  5. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence — ability to apply logic to systems and numbers
  6. Intrapersonal Intelligence — ability to understand your own inner thoughts
  7. Interpersonal Intelligence — ability to understand other people, and relate well to them
  8. Naturalist Intelligence — ability to connect with other living beings, including plants and animals
  9. Existential Intelligence — ability to explore issues of existence such as the meaning of life

Next, knowledge: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Synonyms:          understanding, comprehension, grasp, command, mastery; expertise, skill, proficiency, expertness, accomplishment, adeptness, capacity, capability

Knowledge is what we gain from school and other places of education, as well as what we read, hear and experience in life.

Finally, wisdom: the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Synonyms:          sagacity, intelligence, sense, common sense, shrewdness, astuteness, smartness, judiciousness, judgment, prudence, circumspection

Wisdom is usually demonstrated by the results of decisions and choices. People who are known as wise typically have a lot of experiences and knowledge, along with intelligence (and often grey hair).

So, with some basic definitions to start with, how can we grow our intelligence, knowledge and wisdom?

We tend to think of intelligence as something we are born with and can’t really change ourselves. A number of studies show that we can in fact grow our intelligence by exercising our brains, challenging it with problem solving and seeking new things. Read more things, meet new people, try new activities, play different games and puzzles.

Growing knowledge is a bit clearer, but not necessarily any easier. Doing the work of growing your knowledge will also exercise your brain, increasing your intelligence along the way. Reading, listening to audio books or podcasts, taking classes and attending seminars are all methods of adding to your accumulated pool of knowledge.

My view of wisdom has a biblical foundation. A search of the word “wisdom” in the New Living Translation version of the Bible came up with 214 hits. The first reference is in Genesis when Eve tasted the forbidden fruit because she wanted the wisdom it would give her. A number of times throughout the Old Testament it is reported that God granted wisdom to certain leaders. The most famous of these wise leaders of course is Solomon, who asked for wisdom. Here’s the relevant passage from 1 Kings 3:7-12:

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!

Solomon was given wisdom by God and applied it to his 40 year reign as king of Israel. Unfortunately, he also wasted it and made poor decisions, especially after he experienced success and prosperity. Solomon forgot where his wisdom came from and instead of retaining his humility became prideful and arrogant, turning away from God and his commandments and in effect, losing the gift God had given him. Fortunately, God chose to inspire Solomon to share his wisdom and life lessons learned with us through the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

The beginning of Proverbs makes it clear:

These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. – Proverbs 1:1-7.

So there is an answer for those who want to grow in wisdom. First, ask God for it (I do so almost daily) and second, read the Bible (I also do that almost daily). Third, get advice from others who have demonstrated wisdom (Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. – Proverbs 11:14). Finally, be humble, not prideful and arrogant, remembering that wisdom is a gift from God, give Him the credit when you demonstrate wisdom.

 

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Knowledge and Wisdom: Lessons from Leadercast® and the Bible

I spent Friday, May 10th at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast® event, a one day leader development conference held in Atlanta and broadcast via satellite to about 750 sites. The theme of the event was “Simply Lead”. Like others in attendance, I was there to grow through learning from others. The speaker list was varied in background and experience, including Andy Stanley, David Allen, Henry Cloud, John Maxwell, Sanya Richards-Ross, Mike Krzyzewski, Condeleeza Rice, Jack Welch and Rorke Denver. As you might expect, the presentations and content was as varied as the speakers.

My favorite speaker was Andy Stanley, who shared three questions that a leader and those he is leading must know the answers to. 1. What are we doing? 2. Why are we doing it? 3. Where do I fit in? The point of knowing the answer to the three questions is to provide clarity for everyone involved.  One of the best pieces of practical advice from Andy is for each person in an organization to have a one sentence job description. Not easily done, but very helpful for everyone and a good way to provide clarity for the “Where do I fit in?” question.

There were a few things from the other speakers that were helpful, but where do I get knowledge and wisdom every day, not just at a one day event? Where can I turn when I need knowledge and wisdom to help me through a decision I have to make, a challenge I have to face? Fortunately, we have a great source readily available to us, at least in the English language. God gave us His Words in the form of the Bible, which is filled with wisdom, not just for leaders, but for everyone. If you are a leader, then you need to be reading the Bible daily as a source of wisdom and knowledge so you can be a better leader.

There is wisdom throughout every book of the Bible, mainly via the stories of the experiences and results of wise and poor decisions. This method of sharing knowledge and wisdom isn’t any different than the techniques used during the Leadercast® event by the speakers. Don’t you think you can learn something from Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, John, Peter and Paul, men who made great and sometimes horrible decisions?

Of course God gave us a book dedicated to the purpose of sharing knowledge and wisdom, Proverbs. Here is the purpose of Proverbs directly from the opening seven verses: “These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline”.

If someone wrote a leadership book that offered those promises and delivered them, it would be a best seller. Guess what, the Bible does offer those promises and delivers them and it is a best seller. Even better it is available in many different formats and in many different versions (at least in English). Thanks to Lifechurch.tv the Bible is available electronically for many different devices through YouVersion.com and it’s free.

I have many verses highlighted talking about wisdom, knowledge, instruction. Here are a few, without reference, so you can demonstrate some leadership and search them out on your own:

My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble. Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.

Get the wisdom that can literally be in the palm of your hands and enjoy its benefits!

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