T 1.11 Tradition in Original Christianity, Part 11, Avoid the Philosophies and the Wisdom of the World

God is God of all and Jesus Christ is the central figure throughout Scripture and both are incredibly important in everything a believer thinks and does. Salvation and the power of the spirit in a person’s life allowing believers to have a more than abundant life is a terrifically exciting topic and of utmost importance too. But this topic, avoiding the philosophies and wisdom of the world, is no less important because without understanding the philosophy of the word and avoiding the philosophy of the world people can be talked out of the greatness and simplicity that is in Christ, the abundance of life that’s available now as well as the eternal rewards that can be granted by learning and adhering to the standard of wisdom given by God in Scripture.

The spiritual battle is waged in our minds. And the competing armies are the wisdom of Scripture versus the wisdom of the world. Will you accept the wisdom, the philosophy, of Scripture in all the areas of your life, or will you be seduced into believing the wisdom, the philosophy, of the world in different areas of your life?

The first conflict in the bible is a philosophical one, a battle over whose wisdom to follow..

Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, but not the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it. You shall not touch it, lest you die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t really die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took some of its fruit, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate it, too. (Gen 3:1-6 WEB)

In Genesis chapter 3 the serpent told Eve that the wisest thing to do about the tree in the middle of the garden would be to eat the fruit because it would make her like God! It says that Eve saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise! God told them not to eat! The wise thing would have been to do what God said.  But the serpent enticed with his wisdom.  It was a battle of wisdoms and we all lost that fight.

In its simplest form philosophy is just the love of wisdom. But God’s wisdom follows the rules of God’s word while worldly wisdom has its own rules that can make the word of God void. But make no mistake, the Scriptures are very concerned about where you get your wisdom. There are hundreds and hundreds of references about wisdom and wise people in scripture.

Get wisdom. Get understanding. Don’t forget, and don’t deviate from the words of my mouth. Don’t forsake her, and she will preserve you. Love her, and she will keep you. (Pro 4:5-6 WEB)

Believers are charged to get wisdom.  The words of God’s mouth are the source of true wisdom.  James advises us that if we lack wisdom to ask of God and he will liberally give it.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. (Jas 1:5 WEB)

So, wisdom is something we want, and that is available. Wisdom is such an important topic in Scripture as the word wisdom alone is used over 200 times in the ESV version and about 50 times just in the New Testament.  Note that the young Jesus increased in wisdom.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luk 2:52 WEB)

When people were needed to run things for the new church, wisdom was a quality that was looked for.

Therefore select from among you, brothers, seven men of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. (Act 6:3 WEB)

Look at these wisdom references:

But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, (1Co 2:7 WEB)

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; (Eph 1:17 WEB)

Additionally, the word wise is used over 200 times in the WEB version, often when comparing people wise in the word of God to people wise in the world.

We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. (1Co 4:10 WEB)

In the Scriptures, James wrote about two sources of wisdom.  One is the pure, peaceful, gentle wisdom from above, and the other is the wisdom of the world.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and don’t lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (Jas 3:13-18 WEB)

So, wisdom can be godly or devilish, depending on the source. God’s wisdom comes from his word.

Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as Yahweh my God commanded me, that you should do so in the middle of the land where you go in to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who shall hear all these statutes and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”  (Deu 4:5-6 WEB)

Moses here is speaking to the children of Israel when he tells them that their wisdom and their understanding are in God’s statutes, God’s words to them. Do you see the promise there that says that other nations will see God’s statutes and say that Israel is a nation of wise and understanding people? Of course, that is an Old Testament verse. But the principle is the same. Here’s one from the new covenant.

From infancy, you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. (2Ti 3:15 WEB)

Paul simply tells Timothy that it is the Scriptures that are able to make him wise.  God’s wisdom comes from scripture.

The point in the verses above is that the source of this wisdom is the word of God delivered to God’s people.  As we read above, “Get wisdom. Get understanding. Don’t forget, and don’t deviate from the words of my mouth.”  God’s wisdom is limited to what he has revealed.  That’s not what you or I think about what he has revealed, it’s about what he actually has revealed

The book of Hebrews says that we received the word of God from God by way of the prophets and Jesus Christ, who, besides being the Messiah, is the greatest prophet of all.

God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son. (Heb 1:1-2a WEB)

The source for truth and the wisdom of all things spiritual is God, who reveals things to his spokespeople, the prophets, who relay the message to the rest of us.  This is confirmed in many places in scripture.  Look at these verses.

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people; and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old), (Luk 1:68-70 WEB)

That verse says that God has spoken: “by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old”.  That is how we got God’s word. It wasn’t by philosophers, it wasn’t by poets, it wasn’t by men reasoning and debating until they thought they figured it out.  It was by revelation from God. God himself is the source and He communicated through his spokespeople, the prophets, including his Son, Jesus. And he has been doing that from ancient times. Here are more examples.

Yahweh spoke by his servants the prophets, saying, (2Ki 21:10 WEB)

We haven’t obeyed Yahweh our God’s voice, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. (Dan 9:10 WEB)

Yahweh’s word came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and Yahweh’s hand was there on him. (Eze 1:3 WEB)

But the things which God announced by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. (Act 3:18 WEB)

Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, (Mat 1:22 WEB)

The issue that we are exploring is wisdom, and right now we are looking at the source of the wisdom.  Philosophy, the love of wisdom, is not innately good or bad. What is good or bad, godly or devilish, is the source of wisdom.

We are charged to follow the original Apostles’ traditions, their teachings and practices.

So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter. (2Th 2:15 WEB)

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion, and not after the tradition which they received from us. (2Th 3:6 WEB)

In this tradition, the apostles warned to avoid world wisdom sources.

Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ.  (Col 2:8 WEB)

The philosophy that we are warned against includes Greek philosophers. Greek philosophy is mentioned in scripture:

Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also were conversing with him. Some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be advocating foreign deities,” because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. They took hold of him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you? For you bring certain strange things to our ears. We want to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the strangers living there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.  (Act 17:18-21 WEB)

Paul speaks against world wisdom in his Corinthian letters. Corinth was a Greek city with powerful leanings to philosophy.  The Apostle Paul went there and spoke, not from a philosophical point of view, but with a view to demonstrating the power of God in people’s lives:

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1Co 2:1-5 ESV)

Paul says that there is no comparison between the wisdom of the world and the power of the word of God to accomplish what it has the power to do.

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1Co 2:13-16 ESV)

Paul writes that he imparted the teaching about Christ not in words taught by human wisdom.  He says that we have the mind of Christ (when we walk in the renewed mind (Rom 12:2)). Paul is talking to the Greeks in Corinth about the liabilities of worldly philosophy, human wisdom. Paul didn’t quote Plato, Aristotle, or the other Greek philosophers when talking to them about what is truly powerful.  He taught scripture.  And he demonstrated the spirit.

It is important to acknowledge that the people being talked about as promoters of philosophy and world wisdom of the world are not just the unreligious:

Timothy, guard that which is committed to you, turning away from the empty chatter and oppositions of what is falsely called knowledge; which some profess, and thus have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.  (1Ti 6:20-21 WEB)

This verse says some have professed some new knowledge and have wandered from the faith.  Now, this could include the Gnostics, a popular group at that time, but is not limited to them.  This could be any of a bunch of people promoting some new “science” or knowledge that opposes what scripture teaches.

The above verse also describes a process that has gone on for ages, that is, saying that there is new knowledge or science that proves something in the bible wrong.  And that is a double edge sword.  For example, there was a time when the Catholic Church taught that the earth was flat!   They got that from verses like this one.

Thus were the visions of my head on my bed: I saw, and behold, a tree in the middle of the earth; and its height was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to the sky, and its sight to the end of all the earth. (Dan 4:10-11 WEB)

The interpretation that the words about an end of the earth meant the earth was flat was clearly wrong.  This is an example of taking a figure of speech literally which is clearly something to be avoided.  But this error doesn’t justify either discarding the bible or reinterpreting it every time a scientist, or psychologist, or philosopher declares something unscriptural to be true.

Remember how the discussion went in the garden of Eden.  The serpent advised Eve that she had her facts wrong.  The serpent told her that what God said was wrong, that she wouldn’t die, she would “be like God”, knowing good and evil, and implied that God didn’t want that for her.  That’s Satan’s M O.  He has been presenting new facts, new information, new wisdom, that shows God’s word is wrong since the garden.  He lies about what is true all the time.

But the worldly wisdom we are to be on guard against is not just from famous Greek philosophers or scientists but anyone considered wise.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and don’t lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  (Jas 3:13-17 WEB)

The above section talks about discerning the source of wisdom for anyone “among you” that is considered wise.

It’s important to realize that when scripture talks about philosophy it’s not limited to famous Greek philosophers talking about abstract concepts.  This topic is so much wider than that.  Yes, we are certainly talking about the concepts of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and the other philosophers who are recognized as philosophers talking about forms or something abstract.  Philosophy is actually a common, everyday activity in discussions about everyday activities. The scriptures have some insight and godly guidance on everything in life.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, (2Pe 1:2-3 ESV)

A godly life is a 24/7 activity. The knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord is relevant in all things so as to be godly around the clock.  It is true that some decisions have no bearing on being godly and we have the freedom to choose as it pleases us.  For example, it may not make a difference to godliness whether you take the freeway or back roads to get to work, as long as you are on time, you drive safely, and get there on time.   Another example is that it may not make any difference in the order of things you do in a meeting but scripture does say that all things should be done decently and in order (1 Cor 15:40). Scripture relates to all things in life because we are to be godly in all things so scripture contains all we need pertaining to life and godliness, i.e., godly life in all things.

Now, we are talking about wisdom as it pertains to life and godliness, not the best way to make bread or craft something.  Those can be good things to do, and there are best practices, i.e. wisdom, in those as well as many other endeavors.  Scripture even talks about a spirit of wisdom that some have for tasks such as these.

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer. (Exo 35:30-35 ESV)

So, it is available to be given the wisdom to be able to craft things via the spirit.  The verse says Yahweh “filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft.”  Wow, skill. intelligence, knowledge, craftsmanship, artistic designs, for work in every skilled craft, what a set of talents. That is awesome, something that is available via the spirit as those things are not in scripture anywhere. But we are more concerned about issues of life in our discussion of philosophy, the study of wisdom.

Philosophy is carried on by everyone from the farmer to the ditch digger to the teacher to the elected official and is carried on in homes, schools, workplaces, sports arenas, and in every imaginable place around the world. It’s carried on by everyone everywhere. Every believer is given this warning.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. (1Co 3:18 WEB)

This is a general charge to everyone. “If anyone thinks he is wise among you” means that any of us can think we are wise. So, are we wise in the world or in the word of God? The activity of a philosopher is to study wisdom. As believers that is part of what we are charged to do. We are studying wisdom right now. We are studying philosophy right now.

To one degree or another, we are all philosophers.

“At various times everyone philosophizes… This philosophizing takes place whenever one reflects upon either the fundamental presuppositions of thought and action, or the ends to which the conduct of human life should be directed.”[1]

“Everyone philosophizes,” it says in a Christian philosophy book. Why, how could that be? Because philosophy is just the exercise of people expressing what they think about what people do. Yes, it really is that basic. The Complete Idiots Guide to Philosophy elaborates:

“The fact is, philosophy is unavoidable. Even if you think you don’t already have a philosophy, you actually do. Like everybody else, you live your life according to ideas and assumptions about what the world is like that you picked up along the way.”[2]

How does everyone philosophize, you may ask? Most people just talk, right? They really are trying to be philosophers, are they?  No, it’s simpler than that.  Wisdom is being concerned about how to do things the best way.  Everyone is concerned about that.  Wisdom is focusing on why things are done a certain way.  Everyone wants to do the wisest thing.

Not only that, you probably see or even use philosophical methods regularly. They may be so ingrained that you are not aware of them at times. For example, do you know somebody, perhaps yourself, that is regularly looking for the flaws in an argument? They want to find the angle, the mistake, the reason why what they’re hearing might not be true before they accept it. I know a lot of people that way. Some people even call that healthy skepticism. It’s actually something that’s taught in a lot of elementary schools. One thing it’s also called is the Socratic method, named after Socrates who is credited with starting it. It’s a commonly used philosophical method.  And I am not saying it’s wrong to look for the flaw in someone’s argument, just that it is a common philosophical thing to do.

Or, how about this, do you believe that society’s needs are more important than individual desires? That is part of Confucian philosophy popular in China and other Eastern cultures. Or do you think that values like freedom and equality, that the individual’s success is what is crucial? That is part of Western philosophy from Plato down through the ages.[3] Those are common philosophical positions seen in many places.

When you see a person struggling, are you more inclined to say, “that person needs more help”, or “that person needs to do more to help themselves.”? Those are philosophical statements because they are discussions of what you think someone should get or do based upon what you think.

I am emphasizing the point that philosophizing is not just talking about particular abstract ideas of philosophers, what Plato said or Socrates said, it is talking about why anyone does anything. Understanding that puts the warnings against relying on the wisdom of the world, philosophy, in a finer light. We’re not just concerned about what Plato or Aristotle said. We are concerned about what anyone says about why things happen, and why people do things. We absolutely are not just concerned with Plato’s, Descartes’, or Confucius’ ideas on abstract concepts, we are both concerned with how they but also how everyone else thinks.

And that point is further strengthened when we look again at how James 3:13 starts.  “Who is wise and understanding among you?” is how it starts.  It’s talking about the wise among us.  Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato are not among us.  James isn’t as concerned here about what we think of Plato as what is the source of wisdom for any person who is giving you advice.  And what is the source of the advice that you are giving both to yourself and others?

I was in a group discussion and a grandmother started sharing about her grandkids. I’m paraphrasing, but she said something like, “boys really are mostly spit and vinegar, there always running, fighting, and moving constantly. They’re just wired that way.” She was sharing her wisdom. Some people agreed.  But there were grandparents in the group that had grandsons that were not always running, fighting, and moving constantly, but this grandmother remained convinced. She was sure what she was saying was true. She got her wisdom from her experience. Her experience in her world was that was how boys are. Wisdom of the world is not always Plato and Aristotle, sometimes it’s grandpa and grandma, ma and pa speaking about how they think things are. It could even be a sixth-grader talking to a fourth-grader because the sixth-grader thinks they are wiser.  It could be anybody older or more experienced than someone else thinking they are wiser.  That’s pretty much all of us at different times, isn’t it?

A proverb I hear often is “you get what you pay for”. That is a philosophical statement, a bit of worldly wisdom. I’ve heard it most often when someone is trying to sell me something, but others have made the comment too. I was buying a pair of glasses one time and the frames alone were over $200. I made a comment about that being a lot of money for a few pieces of bent and polished metal to hold some lenses. The clerk said just that, “you get what you pay for”.

So, is that wisdom from God? I am going to say no.  Look at this proverb:

“It’s no good, it’s no good,” says the buyer; but when he is gone his way, then he boasts. (Pro 20:14 WEB)

This proverb talks about what happens in a negotiation.  Both sides of the negotiation say things to make the price better for them.

You see, a lot of people think that Godly wisdom just has to do with salvation, believing Jesus was raised from the dead and accepting him as Lord.  But it has to do with all the details of life.  Some think that how you work and spend your money, and go out and play, all of that has little to do with God’s wisdom.  No, God is interested in every aspect of our lives and his wisdom needs to be what we seek in not only faith decisions but the ordinary things of life as well.

So, God has some wisdom for us in the buying and selling of things. So, should you just pay more when someone says that you get what you pay for?  Okay, sure, some things have a fixed price. But many things even with a fixed price have different prices in different stores. Let’s say that you are looking to buy a certain fitness watch. The suggested price from the manufacturer for the watch is $200. But you can usually get that watch for $160 at a discount store. And then occasionally it’s on sale for as little as $120. “You get what you pay for” would imply that you got something more for paying two hundred dollars than you did for paying $160, or even 120.

An online free dictionary says that the idiom you get what you pay for really means the less you pay for something the lower the quality it will inevitably be.  That sounds more reasonable, but it is not what they say.

Or, how about buying cars? Let’s say you’re looking at a certain make and model of SUV that has a sticker price of $40,000. Most everybody knows that that is not the price that you will wind up paying for that vehicle, although I have known a person or two that did pay the sticker price for a car because they were not aware of the importance of negotiating with a car dealer.  (And I do know that there are some dealers that work with a “no-hassle” lower-priced system where they have priced cars at the lowest price that they are willing to sell them for instead of starting with the MSRP and negotiating with the buyer.)

A recent article that I read says that the wisest approach to used car purchases is to find a source for prices outside of the dealership with whom you are dealing.  Edmunds.com is an example of such a source.[4]  The article said that a good negotiator should be able to reduce the price by 10 to 15%.  Certainly, a person doesn’t get more by paying the extra 10 or 15% they could’ve saved by negotiating.

However, there are limits. So, instead of saying “you get what you pay for”, you might say “higher-quality items generally cost more.” The point of this exercise is to show that oftentimes the wisdom that people follow is a wisdom of the world. I’ve heard too many salespeople rattle off “you get what you pay for” too many times not to believe that it is worldly wisdom designed to help sellers negotiate a price that is better for them.

There are countless examples of philosophical discussions like this in real life in many areas.  When is it okay to get divorced is a philosophical as well as a moral question. Is it okay for a woman to get an abortion? Is love really just love so same-sex relationships as well as polygamy and even what are called incestual relationships really just false taboos?  How far can you go in defending yourself likewise is a philosophical decision as well as having moral and legal components?  How much should you save?  How much should you give to God and to others? What is your philosophy in getting vaccinated?  How should you raise your kids?

All of the above topics are philosophical but not necessarily what some people consider as part of classic Greek philosophy.  But when scripture is talking about not being swayed by worldly wisdom and philosophy it is talking about all of this.

Whether or not Greek philosophy was inspired was a topic around at the time of the apostles. And I have talked to people who have said they believed what the first-century Jewish philosopher, Philo, said millennia ago, that God spoke through the prophets of Israel, who, in turn, influenced the Greek philosophers and he claims that is why there is, to Philo at least, a strong correlation between scripture and philosophy. That is not what the Scriptures teach. And that is especially important here. God spoke, according to Scripture, through his prophets. Now it is true, that he has communicated, in dreams and other ways, to different men specifically at times like Nebuchadnezzar in his dream. But the claim that after God spoke to his prophets the philosophers picked up on that is unsubstantiated.  But I remember that being suggested as a possibility in Catholic high School.

Wisdom from above is something precious, and to be desired. But in this article, we are also looking at the danger of ungodly philosophy, the wisdom of the world, how it is something that we are only warned against, but never charged to accept in any form.

James above says that there are two sources of wisdom, one is godly from above, and the other one is demonic, devilish. That’s a pretty stark contrast. So, when looking at how Scripture talks about worldly wisdom, which category are we to put it in, godly or devilish? Since there are only two sources, the ultimate source of worldly wisdom is the devil.

Let’s look at scripture references on the dangers of world wisdom. Beware of that philosophy, the scriptures say:

Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ. (Col 2:8 WEB)

This verse clearly puts philosophy, with vain deceit and the traditions of men, in the devilish category.  This is a strongly worded warning of the source and potentially destructive nature of the philosophy that is based on the wisdom of the world.

This verse does make a case for Christian philosophy as a wonderful thing as long as it is after Christ, and not after the philosophical traditions and elements of the world. There is Christian wisdom to seek, but it is definitely not the philosophies of the Greeks and other nations of the world. It’s not the philosophy of who might be considered wise in the standard of the world.  That includes wily old veterans in any field, grandparents, old pros; they may have wisdom but it’s only what we want if it is based on what God has revealed in his word. Christian wisdom is sticking to what has been revealed. Again, “Get wisdom. Get understanding. Don’t forget, and don’t deviate from the words of my mouth.”  That doesn’t leave much wiggle room.

The apostles’ tradition was that all godly wisdom comes from God, and is contained in God’s word which came through his prophets.  Believers become wiser in God’s eyes as they set their minds on things above:

If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. (Col 3:1-2 WEB)

Believers transform themselves into wiser people when they renew their minds

Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2 WEB)

It is not an easy task.  In fact, scripture calls it warfare:

For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; (2Co 10:3-5 WEB)

“Throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”  is the war between our ears.  It is the process of renewing our minds to the mind of Christ.  It is how we become wise with Godly wisdom.

Seeking God’s wisdom in every area of our lives is part of the Apostle’s tradition. So is avoiding worldly wisdom in any form that it may come in.

Future articles will discuss how soon after the apostles the church began embracing worldly philosophic methods and not too long after that worldly philosophical ideas.

[1]Introduction to Philosophy, P. 12

[2] The Complete Idiots Guide to Philosophy, J Stephenson PhD, Alpha books, 2005, P. 4

[3] ibid, p.31-32

[4] https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Savings/art-deal-haggle-car/story?id=11845530

last edited 1/3/2022

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