Key Scriptures: Proverbs 1:1-7, 9:10, 13:13 and 8:22-31, Matthew 7:24-27, 25:1-13, Luke 11:37-52
Guiding Question: What are the differences between wisdom, intelligence and foolishness?
Optional Introductory Activity: Play a few minutes of a Bible trivia game. Keep score. Ask students if the winners were wise or intelligent? Were the losers foolish? Could the people who lost also be wise and/or intelligent even though they lost?
Lesson: Read Proverbs 1:1-7, 9:10, 13:13 and 8:22-31. (Questions to students are in bold italics.) What does it mean to be wise? Intelligent? Ignorant? Foolish? Intelligence is the ability to learn new material quickly and understand it. Wisdom is the ability to take knowledge and put it into practical use. Foolishness is the inability to use knowledge and apply it to one’s life. Ignorance is a state of knowledge that has yet to be learned. What do the scriptures we just read tell us about the differences between a wise person and a foolish person? Read Matthew 7:24-27, 25:1-13. Why do you think Jesus told stories to help people understand the difference between wise and foolish people? Jesus knew wise people or people who were acting wisely would recognize him as the Son of God and obey God’s commands. Foolish people would reject Jesus, God and anything they commanded. Why else do you think godly wisdom is important? (Answers may vary.) Read Luke 11:37-62. This passage is more difficult to understand than some of the others. The Pharisees were “smart” about the Law, but they weren’t wise enough to understand God’s principles behind the Laws and put them into practice. Because they were “smart” and not wise, they were actually foolish. The were obeying the letter of the Law, but disobeying its main principles at the same time. What are some ways to obtain godly wisdom? Once we learn about God’s wisdom, how can we put it into practice? How do we avoid being like the Pharisees and obeying the letter of God’s Laws while still disobeying Him by missing the principles behind them? (Answers will vary. Allow plenty of discussion so students understand the concepts thoroughly.) Can you think of an example of someone obeying the letter of the Law, but missing the principle? (Ex: Lying by omission – what I said was true, but I left unsaid things which would reveal the entire truth, not murdering but hating someone, etc.)
Application Challenge: Read at least one chapter of Proverbs each day. Write down at least one proverb from each chapter that addresses issues in your life or that you need to remember to do. Each day try to live the proverb you have chosen from that chapter.
Author: Thereasa Winnett