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Knowledge and wisdom

Knowledge and wisdom – these are two words that hold different meanings but are often used interchangeably. Knowledge is the awareness of something gained through learning or experience, while wisdom is the ability to think or act by using such knowledge appropriately.

We often tend to correlate wisdom with formal education, but probably our own experience with people around us tells us that this isn’t necessarily the case always. We find many wise men and women among even the unschooled, and we also come across many educated people who cannot be said to be very wise. Education is certainly important, and must be aspired to by everybody, but by itself, it does not make anyone wise.

The Bible says that knowledge only causes one to be puffed up, if it isn’t wielded through deep love and humility. Human history is witness to how knowledge can be used for the most creative as well as the most destructive purposes. Will Durant, a renowned historian and philosopher, once famously wrote about science, which is considered to be the pinnacle of human knowledge, “Science tells us how to heal and how to kill; it reduces our death rate in retail and then kills us wholesale in war; but only wisdom can tell us when to heal and when to kill.” This is precisely why the Bible also encourages us to seek wisdom from God – the author and ultimate source of all knowledge and wisdom.

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