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The first thing is cultivating a love of learning. To be wise means we need to grow. It is not something with which we are naturally born. We must have a passion for learning.

Learning is not easy. It requires work. It requires real discipline to do it even when we do not want to or feel like it.

  • When we fall short, we must submit to God’s discipline and receive correction.
  • We must be open to hearing we weren’t correct in our thinking.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.   [1]

~King Solomon (Proverbs 12:1)

Understanding God’s word. The New Testament presents Jesus as a teacher—a role often associated with the wise in the ancient world. This connection is clear in Jesus’ use of parables to instruct—teaching methods also used by sages.

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When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?

Mark 6:2

There is far more to Jesus’ teaching than simply the adoption of wisdom forms — which prophets in Old Testament times also used to convey their message. The content of Jesus’ teaching is not constrained to wisdom by His use of parables; it is also prophetic, miraculous, and priestly.

  • John 12:16  — These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.
  • Psalm 119:73  — Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
  • Luke 24:45  — Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
  • Nehemiah 8:8  — They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
  • Nehemiah 8:12  — All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.
  • Psalm 119:27  — Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders.
  • Psalm 119:125  — I am Your servant; give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies.
  • Matthew 24:15  — “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).
  • Luke 24:27  — Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
  • Acts 8:30–31  — Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Pr 12:1.