The Wisdom Ladder

5 levels of wisdom you may not know about.

In ancient times, wisdom used to be celebrated; just like selfies and funky Snapchat videos are celebrated in today’s world.  My how times have changed!  But I am hoping that, together, we can make wisdom trendy and chic once again.

Climbing the Wisdom Ladder

There are many benefits of wisdom.  However, not all wisdom is the same. It is laddered and made up of five unique levels.

But before we look at that, let’s look at the benefits of a wise life.  Here are just a few benefits according to Proverbs 1:1-5 and the man that many scholars consider to be “the wisest man to ever live”, King Solomon:

  • learning how to live a disciplined life
  • for understanding words of insight
  • living a prudent life
  • in order to understand what is right, just, and fair
  • to help simple people become wise
  • to help young people have discretion
  • helping the wise to grow wiser
  • and to provide guidance and understanding as we journey through life

There are 5 levels of wisdom and they are progressive in nature.  Think of them like a ladder with one rung leading upward to the next.  Here’s what I think they are.

The 5 Levels of the Wisdom Ladder

Level 1:  Knowledge

The base rung of the wisdom ladder is knowledge.  It is the basic understanding of a topic.  For example, someone may say, “I know about cars.”  What this means is they have a basic knowledge about them.  They have a steering wheel, tires, an engine, etc.  But beyond that, they may know very little.  Knowledge, in this case, is level 1 and basic.

Level 2:  Wisdom

As we move up the wisdom ladder, we move to level 2: wisdom.  We often think of this level as the pinnacle of the wisdom ladder (obviously we use the name to represent all levels).  But there are higher rungs on the ladder, as you will see.  That being said, wisdom is to be desired and pursued by all.  In the case of the car analogy above, we saw that knowledge of cars was the base and simplest level.  Wisdom is when you take that knowledge and expand it a bit.  Someone who has a good sense of what to do and can fix their own vehicles would be considered wise.  He or she knows more than the basics.

Level 3:  Understanding

Level 3, then, is understanding.  This is the next step up the ladder.  It is building upon levels 1 and 2 and expands to an even deeper level of…well, understanding.  This is the person who can take a topic beyond the basics and even further than a wise level.  This person truly understands how the car (in this analogy) really works.  He understands how the parts interact with one another and why one thing is needed to help assist with something else.  His knowledge is very broad on the subject and he can teach others how to be wise in this area as well.

Level 4:  Discernment

Level 4, is called discernment.  This is when someone has accumulated a deep understanding of something and has the ability to make proper judgments about what’s right/wrong or true/untrue.  This person understands a topic so thoroughly that when someone gets stuck and needs help determining what to do with a difficult new concept or hard decision, that the discerning person is called upon.  He has almost mastered the topic and few understand it as thoroughly as he or she does.

Level 5:  Prudence

Level 5, the pinnacle of a wise life, is prudence.  It is an old-fashioned word that needs help becoming fashionable once again.  By definition, a prudent person is wise and judicious.  This means that someone with the deepest level of wisdom is able to know a topic inside and out and can make decisions that help that person do what’s right, just, and best.  He or she can look ahead and use all of their collective wisdom and understanding about a topic and make the best possible decisions for the future.

We all want a life that is blessed and we often wonder what it will take to get it.  God, in His infinite wisdom, has pointed us in the direction of living a prudent life all along.  In fact, I encourage you to read the book of Proverbs and see if you can pick up on these rungs of the wisdom ladder as you do.  Now that you see these levels you will read the timeless truths of Proverbs in a fresh and relevant way.

God knows the way to a blessed life.  More importantly, He has shown us the way.  It is up!  Up the wisdom ladder.

Question: Why do you think society doesn’t value wisdom like it used to? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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