Many people are still in a state of ambiguity on the issue of wisdom especially the wisdom mentioned in the Holy Bible. One should know first the meaning of the word wisdom before exploring further and gain the knowledge about the word or recognizing that he has that something that could be called as wisdom. “Wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight” as defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th Ed. ). The theologians however, stated that “wisdom is from God and it is found in His revelation, particularly in biblical wisdom literature” (Smith 1992).
According to Dennis Bratcher, “wisdom literature is a term applied to the Old Testament canonical books of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and sometimes to the Songs of Songs (Song of Solomon). It also includes the Apocryphal books of Sirach (The Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira or Ecclesiasticus) and the Wisdom of Solomon. ” (Dennis Bratcher, 2006). There are other biblical books that are in the Scriptures like Psalms, the teachings if Jesus, and the Epistle of James, but they differ in characteristics and points of view with the wisdom perspectives of those aforementioned books which should be known first before reading and studying further.
This research paper will try to discover more about wisdom with the hope that this will give insights to the readers on what wisdom is all about and deepen the knowledge of the reader on the biblical perspectives of wisdom as presented in the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Job. WISDOM IN THE OLD TESTAMENT The real meaning or character of wisdom seems to be difficult to comprehend. However, the Old Testament particularly the Apocryphal books which are considered as didactic books had clearly explained what is wisdom all about.
For the people of the Old Testament, wisdom is considered as an approach to life, “a practical guidance for everyday life” (Orthodox Photos online, 2007). This statement is corroborated that didactic books elucidated wisdom as the means to “teach man to organize his personal, earthy life in such a way that it will be blessed by God and by men, and may give him prosperity and peace of soul. The wisdom which proceeds from God imparts such a life. ”(Orthodox Photos, 2007)
Some brief characteristics of Old Testament Wisdom perspective are summarized by Dennis Bratcher (2006) as explained in the succeeding discussions. 1. Wisdom is concerned with everyday life, how to live well. It is concerned with the issues facing humanity in general; raising children, providing economic security, finding the appropriate wife, etc. It does include history, politics, miracles, sin, forgiveness, and God who acts. The focus is on interpersonal relationships, as well as reflective questions about the meaning of life and how to live it. 2. Wisdom does not appeal to reveal truth.
It does not address the human condition from the divine perspective, but rather from the perspective of human needs and concerns, and in terms of what human beings can and should do to address those concerns. 3. Wisdom’s claim to authority lies in tradition and observation. Tradition represents the wisdom of experience, both in individuals and in the collective experiences of the community. Wisdom is grounded in social structures such as the family, the schools of the wise elders, or the king and the royal court, but do not demand radical change in dealing social problems. 4. Israelite Wisdom is rooted in reverence and commitment to God.
Basically, for the Israelites, God is the Creator of His people and the physical world. As a Creator, God has imbedded truth in all of creation, and therefore all of His creation is a way to learn about God and his purposes for the world. Human responsibility to God involves finding the truth of God in the world as reflected in how the world operates according to the harmony of its creator, and then living within that harmony of God’s order. The “way of wisdom” is an ethical system in which humanity is responsible for searching, finding, and doing the things necessary to secure their well being in God’s world.