You can have knowledge without wisdom. But you can’t have wisdom without knowledge. The most knowledgeable person you know might not be the most insightful. Wisdom has to do with applying your knowledge in flourishing ways–living according to truth, goodness, and beauty.

The opposite of knowledge is ignorance. The opposite of wisdom is foolishness.

The Bible teaches us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The word “fear” here means more than the emotional experience of being afraid. It’s closer to “respect” or “reverence.” It has to do with attitude and frame of reference: Are our hearts and minds Godward?

Conversely, the Bible describes foolishness as a forgetting, a disregard, even a denial of God: “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” Note: we’re not talking about people who are struggling with doubts–we’re talking about a wholesale rejection of the notion that God makes any practical difference in our lives. Again, it has to do with attitude and frame of reference. Are our hearts and minds anti-God?

Now, we’ve all met religious folks who were fools. We’ve probably also known avowed atheists who were very insightful. What do we do with this apparent contradiction of Biblical claims?

Look deeper and longer. Anyone could foolishly try to live in a cardboard house on top of an awesome foundation. A sure foundation doesn’t guarantee a sound structure above the ground.

Conversely, one could build an amazing house on a problematic foundation. Most visitors might not even notice. For awhile.

The sweet spot is a sound house on a firm foundation. Let’s humbly build together.