Four Ways People Become Wise
The Proverbs Way
The proverbs were written from the wise man’s observation and experience of life, and he writes them to pass on the insights he has gained. Even more, his writing can orient the mind of the reader to begin observing life on his own and reflecting upon his experiences to formulate his own base of wisdom. The proverbs both reflect upon observation and experience, and encourage such wise activities in others.
Secondly, one becomes wise through heeding the instruction of the wise. The observations and experiences of the wise become the content of the instruction. Behavior that led to success, such as industriousness and thrift, becomes the object of exhortation for the hearers; behavior that led to failure, such as laziness and inattentiveness, become warnings.
Thirdly, wisdom is gained by learning from our mistakes. If we fail to learn from our mistakes by our own observation, we can learn from them when we are justly rebuked by someone. The discerning man gains wisdom by correction while the mocker or fool gains nothing from the experience (19:25).
Fourthly, people become wise when they apply themselves to God’s revelation. “At the heart of wisdom is God himself. Apart from God there is no true insight into the world. God is the only source of true wisdom. Even the ability to observe and experience is from the Lord.”
These four points about becoming wise are from Tremper Longman’s book Reading Proverbs. Though simple, when applied to our lives they can have a profound effect on directing us to a better life, one blessed by God.