“We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 5:20a)
As a missionary in Africa with the Rafiki Foundation I had the joy of using the Rafiki Bible Study (RBS). The RBS starts in Genesis 1:1 and ends with Revelation 22:21, teaching every book of the Bible exegetically, including the revelation of Jesus Christ. I made an interesting observation among many of the adult African Christians, who had powerful personal testimonies of faith in Jesus Christ. Frequently, when a question would come up about how God reveals himself and is glorified, the answer would be that He makes himself known mainly through general revelation, in nature specifically. This is surprising since Christians have even more profound wisdom in the person of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament is full of wisdom, and heavenly pleas for God to make this wisdom accessible. Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Indeed, the Ten Commandments and statutes of the Old Covenant are full of glorious truths, when we view them as gifts of love from our Creator. By them, we know his character, desires, and expectations of us. Furthermore, Jesus came to fulfill the Law, every promise made by God in the Old Covenant, and the ministry of the temple sacrifices. (Matthew 5:17-18) As Mark wrote, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11)
“Christians receive grace in order to grasp biblical teaching and receive the will to put it into practice.” * It is by the grace of Jesus Christ, through personal application to the study of wisdom that believers obtain profound biblical wisdom superseding all other knowledge and understanding. And it is through our Savior that we can put understanding into practice. In Christ, we can discern false teaching and subtle digressions from the truth. We have the mind of “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” (1 Corinthians 2:16; Colossians 2:2-4).
When I study the Bible to write these devotions, teach a specific lesson, or for my spiritual growth, I usually check the cross-references for key verses of the passage I am studying, seeing the big picture of a doctrine or idea. In this way I expand my wisdom, asking God for the most in-depth understanding I may have, knowing that in Christ I have grace to put it into practice. How do you apply the grace of Christ to obtain greater wisdom from God’s Word?
* ESV Study Bible, “1 John,” Crossway, 2008.