Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson study options which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson option includes opening activities, Scripture passages, and discussion questions.
Provide two large posters—one with the word WISE with its definition written at the top, and one with the word SMART with its definition written at the top.
“Wise” means having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment. (Synonyms include: sage, intelligent, clever, learned, enlightened, shrewd, sensible, discerning.)
“Smart” means having or showing quick-witted intelligence. (Synonyms include: clever, bright, intelligent, sharp, astute, apt, able, perceptive, well-educated.)
Provide index cards or pieces of paper with one of the synonyms for wise or smart printed on each. Mix them all up and then invite the students to place each of the synonyms under the word it best describes.
Separate the students into groups of three or four. Provide each group with one of the following quotes on wisdom. Ask each of the groups to spend a few minutes discussing the quote, then prepare to describe and explain the meaning of the quote to the rest of the class. Allow each group about one or two minutes to present their interpretation. If you have very few students, distribute the quotes among them, but let them work in pairs or trios for their explanations.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” -William Shakespeare
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” -Confucius
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”-Albert Einstein
“Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.” -Thomas J. Watson
“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” -Francis Bacon
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” -Will Rogers
“Wisdom is the knowledge of good and evil, not the strength to choose between the two.” -John Cheever
“Pain is the doorway to wisdom and to truth.” -Keith Miller
In I Kings, Solomon asked God for wisdom so he could be a good king. The word wisdom is mentioned 219 times in the Bible, while the word “intelligent” is used four times and “intelligence” five times. Wisdom seems to be a very valued asset.
Allow your thinking to be challenged in order to expand your perspective. This will help you develop empathy and increase your emotional intelligence. In the process, you may find you handle people, challenges, and even disappointment in an entirely different manner
The wise person believes that God’s ways are always true, that His ways are always best despite what their friends may say, what the in-crowd says, what the latest fad may be, what their hormones are telling them, what their desire for independence may be telling them, and what the deceptive, short-term possible benefits of sin may appear to be.
Let’s read Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).
Next, let’s read Proverbs 2:1-11 (NIV).
“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.”
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we did that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christians were known as people who are passionate about pursuing God’s wisdom, “seeking it like silver, searching it as for hidden treasure”? Before we go, let me ask you one last question: How do you think following this instruction would have impacted Solomon’s life?
A couple of important points are revealed in Solomon's confessions in Ecclesiastes:
Let’s read I Corinthians 4:1-8.
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!”
This passage reveals the challenges that can accompany the process of gaining wisdom and experience. How does this fit in with the story of Solomon’s choices?
Sometimes our human nature can lead us to feel prideful as we start gaining more knowledge of wisdom and truth. We have to remember that every good gift comes from God. The wise person knows this is true and resists taking the credit, making them all the wiser.