The Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

Updated: Jul 17, 2018

Here’s a saying I like. Maybe you’ve heard it.

“Knowledge is knowing that tomatoes are fruits. Wisdom is knowing not to put them in a fruit salad.”

Our world is flush with knowledge. Have a question? Google it. Want a book? Download it. Knowledge is everywhere. But wisdom? Not so much. We all want to be wise--or at least to appear wise. But how can we recognize the difference? We can find the answer in the opening of Paul’s letter to Titus.

"Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness." Titus 1:1

See that key phrase? “Their knowledge of the truth… that leads to godliness.” Like eating tomatoes, knowledge must become action in order to count as wisdom. Knowledge dwells in the mind, but wisdom dwells in the life. Or, to use stuffy theologian lingo, orthodoxy must result in orthopraxy.

Orthodoxy: (ortho=correct, doxy=to say) right thinking or speaking.

Orthopraxy: (ortho=correct, praxy=to do) right doing.

Both orthodoxy and orthopraxy are important. Would you want a brain surgeon who never went to medical school? On the other hand, would you prefer a valedictorian brain surgeon who never performed an operation? Doctors needs both knowledge and wisdom to succeed. Likewise, in order to grow as God's children, we must also learn His truth and apply it. Being wise means living the truth that one learns.

God calls His people to both knowledge and wisdom--orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Sadly, too many of us are content to only achieve knowledge. After all, knowledge is easy. Knowledge makes us look good. But Paul wanted more from Titus, and God wants more from us. Paul called Titus to not only know God’s truth but also to apply it in the form of godliness. In doing so, we attain wisdom. Wisdom at its core is truth truly applied.

There tend to be two kinds of people. Some learn and ruminate. Others "just do." Which one are you? Regardless, both extremes result in a stunted Christian life. As the author of Hebrews said, “You ought to eat meat but remain on milk." His audience ought to have applied what they've learned about God in their lives. Instead, they preferred to continue learning about God without living like God.

Do you prefer to just learn about God without living like Him? Imagine what could happen in America if Christians everywhere were no longer satisfied with just learning about God, but craved to live like Him? What if we were no longer content to just know God's knowledge, but wanted to apply it as wisdom in our lives? Babies grow from milk to meat. Let's grow from knowledge to wisdom.

Resting in Him,

Pastor Stephen


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