What Is Wisdom?

Near the beginning of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Jacob gives us the following counsel: “O be wise; what can I say more?” (Jacob 6:12).

Near the end of the book, the prophet Moroni advises us, “Be wise in the days of your probation” (Mormon 9:28).

The words “wisdom” and “wise” appear exactly 100 times in the Book of Mormon (“wise” appears 41 times, and “wisdom” appears 59 times). Today, I studied those passages to find out what I can learn which will help me to be wiser. Here’s what I learned:

  1. God has all wisdom and all power (Mosiah 4:9, Alma 26:35). We can have faith in His governance of the universe, because all things have been done in His wisdom (2 Nephi 2:24).
  2. The Book of Mormon was written, preserved, and given to us by the wisdom of God (1 Nephi 9:5, 1 Nephi 19:3, Words of Mormon 1:7, Alma 37:2, 12, 14, 18, 3 Nephi 21:4, 3 Nephi 26:2, 3 Nephi 29:1, Mormon 5:13, Ether 8:23, Moroni 10:3).
  3. Wisdom is more powerful than cleverness. God’s wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil (3 Nephi 21:10).
  4. We can ask God to give us wisdom (Alma 31:35). If we will listen to the Spirit of the Lord, it will guide us in wisdom’s paths (Mosiah 2:36).
  5. We can “learn wisdom” by listening to teachers and from our own experiences  (Mosiah 2:17, Alma 32:12, Alma 38:9).
  6. Gaining wisdom takes effort: we must apply our hearts to understanding (Mosiah 12:27).
  7. Wisdom is not age-specific; young people can also learn wisdom (Alma 37:35).
  8. When we gain some wisdom, we can be tempted to overestimate how wise we really are. This can lead us to ignore our dependence on God (2 Nephi 9:28, 42-43). To avoid this trap, we should not boast of our wisdom (Alma 38:11, 13, Alma 39:2, 2 Nephi 20:13, 2 Nephi 15:21). We should not depend on our own wisdom alone (Helaman 16:15).
  9. The pursuit of wisdom is also the willingness to submit to wisdom: We should be quick to walk in wisdom’s paths (Helaman 12:5). We should strive to do all things in wisdom and order (Mosiah 4:27). We should desire that wisdom rule over us (Mosiah 8:20).
  10. Wise people obey the commandments of God. Therefore, they build their lives on a solid foundation (3 Nephi 14:24-25).

Today, I will strive to be wise. I will remember that God has all wisdom, and I will ask Him for wisdom and for guidance. I will make an effort to learn from the words of others and from my own experiences. I will avoid overestimating my wisdom and will acknowledge my dependence on God. I will strive to discipline myself and submit my actions to the demands of wisdom.

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