The Edifier

West Allen Church of Christ

The Edifier Index

Who Is A Wise Man?

Jim R. Everett

Even the smallest children in Bible classes know the song about the "wise man and the foolish man." It is a very constructive story to teach younger children but it is also an essential lesson for older people as well. It answers the question, "Who is truly wise?" (Matt 7:24-27).

In the midst of a Greek culture which stressed wisdom and which had been exposed to the worldly, learned philosophers such as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, etc., it was difficult for men to accept God's way of doing things. Paul said, "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness," (1 Cor 1:24). God's plan for saving men through the powerful gospel message of a crucified savior was repulsive to the Greeks -- It did not have the appeal of the so-called "deep thinkers." It did not have the flavor their taste buds were used to savoring. Little did they understand how deep God's wisdom was in comparison to man's.

The story Jesus tells of the wise man and the foolish man is actually designed to illustrate that which he had previously stated in emphatic terms-"it is not the one who calls me Lord who will enter into the kingdom of heaven but the one who does the will of the Father," (v.21). Essential truths are here illustrated in a profoundly simply story.

One man is wise, because he builds his house upon a rock. Why? Because he is secure against the storms which threaten man's physical shelters. What he has spent is not easily swept away and destroyed by the elements. Any builder knows the wisdom of a solid foundation. But how foolish to spend so much effort and go to such an expense when the superstructure is not fastened securely to a foundation that has substance. No builder would ever build on shifting sand, because his loss would be inevitable and his lack of wisdom clearly evident.

Who, then, is wise? Jesus says, "whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them" is wise. "Doing his teachings" is the same as what he said earlier -- "...he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven," (v.21). But both those statements have a familiar ring to them - a long time before Jesus, the wise man said, " ... fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man," (Ecclesiastes 12:13).