What does it really mean to be educated? Is college, in and of itself, really what educates a person? What above all must you know? Scripture’s answer to this is very clear: “In all of your learning, get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7).
However, we also know from Scripture that getting wisdom is no easy thing:
My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom;
Incline your heart to understanding.
For if you cry out for insight,
And raise your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And discover the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)
The pursuit of wisdom requires effort. We have to search for it like miners search for precious metals. In fact, Job talks about mining and says that finding wisdom is even harder than finding underground treasures:
He puts his hand on the flint;
He overturns the mountains at the base.
He carves out channels through the rocks,
And his eye sees anything precious.
He dams up the streams from flowing,
And brings to light what is hidden.
But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Mankind does not know its value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living. (Job 28:9-13)
Job is saying, “We may be able to find silver and gold, but no man knows where to find wisdom.” And yet God in His Word commands us to seek wisdom, and in Proverbs much is said about the benefits of having wisdom. It brings safety to those who have it (Proverbs 1:33). It gives people favor in the sight of God and man (Proverbs 3:4). It brings us exaltation and honor (Proverbs 4:8). In light of all these benefits, Proverbs says that wisdom is more valuable than anything a miner could find in the ground (Proverbs 8:11).
The most important thing you will ever gain is wisdom. But that leads us to ask the question, “What is wisdom?”
The word for wisdom in the Greek language is sophia. This word sophia refers to concepts; for a Greek, being wise meant being able to analyze and comprehend ideas. This is often how we think about wisdom today. But the Hebrew word for wisdom, chakam, is quite different; it means “skillful.” In the Hebrew language, a wise person is someone who has skill in living. When we read about wisdom in Proverbs, this is the sort of wisdom we are meant to picture. Biblical wisdom is designed to give us skill in how we live our lives.
So then, what does it mean to be educated? It means to pursue skillfulness in every area of our lives.
If there is anything that should set apart a Christian college, anything that should set apart those of us who are committed to Jesus Christ, it should be this: that we are not only seeking knowledge of concepts, but we are pursuing skill in all aspects of living. And this skill comes from studying the Word of God and the person of Christ, who is God incarnate and the sum of all wisdom (Colossians 2:3). When we come to Scripture, we learn wisdom.
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