The Heart of Wisdom

August 27, 2023

The Heart of Wisdom


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Over the past few years, I’ve been diving deep into the Book of Proverbs—especially the first nine chapters. My goal has been to distill the practical wisdom Solomon shared and then share it with my own children and grandchildren, my missionary colleagues, and anyone else who wants to hear it. Here’s what I’ve concluded from Proverbs: Wise words have no effect if they are not received by willing hearts.


Israelites like Solomon viewed the heart as both a person’s source of life and the place where they made decisions and felt emotions. Just as our physical hearts pump blood to keep our bodies alive and functioning, our spiritual hearts send messages that cause us to behave in certain ways. As Jesus taught, whatever is in our hearts will come out—whether good or evil.[1] If someone’s heart is willing to listen and learn wisdom, then there is hope for growth. But if someone’s heart reflects an attitude of pride and rebellion, then there aren’t enough proverbs in the world to change the outcome of their life.


Over and over, Proverbs connects godly wisdom to the condition of a person’s heart. Solomon explained that wisdom enters the heart,[2] is stored in the heart,[3] and is written deep within the heart.[4] The Lord is the One who examines people’s hearts,[5] and just like “a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects” who a person really is.[6]


Wise teachings are helpful, but they can never touch our conscience unless we have a change of heart. In fact, we need a complete heart transplant—the kind that only comes from salvation through Jesus—whose divine wisdom is far greater than Solomon’s ever was.[7]


Of course, the good news of the gospel wasn’t known in Solomon’s day, although the people of God did understand repentance, atonement, and holiness. But we new-covenant believers have the privilege of knowing Jesus himself. When we are born again, He makes us completely new, changing us from the inside out. And He starts with the heart.


As we continue learning from Proverbs and taking in the wisdom we find there, I pray all of us will have hearts that are willing to listen and adapt. That’s the only way we can “understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”[8]


[1] Matthew 12:34–35; 15:18–20.

[2] 2:10.

[3] 3:1.

[4] 7:3.

[5] 21:2.

[6] 27:19.

[7] Matthew 12:42.

[8] Colossians 2:2–3.

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