Christians Need Both Wisdom and Revelation

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This verse is revealing: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1:17). This verse tells how we grow in the knowledge of Him: it comes through “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation.”

Wisdom is the heightening of our faculties so that we think better, more accurately, and more deeply. It is the sharpening of the person’s thinking and reasoning powers. It is man’s search upward. Some would say that that method of research is the only method of knowledge. John Dewey took that position—there is no knowledge except that which comes from man’s thinking and discovery.

On the other hand, there are those who depend on revelation entirely. They sit with a blank sheet of paper and write down what is “given” to them. It is all and only revelation.

Both of these “either or” methods are incomplete. It is “both and.” Wisdom is to be used and can lead us far, but there come times when wisdom is not enough. We need revelation. God steps in and gives us light and insight not our own. So it is a double process; we reach up with our wisdom, and God reaches down with His revelation. These are the alternate beats of the Christian heart: wisdom—revelation; revelation—wisdom. It is a cooperative enterprise.

This cooperative enterprise saves us from pride and self-sufficiency, and from mental laziness and spiritual dependence. is verse puts the two together: “Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything” (2 Tim. 2:7). “Think . . . the Lord will grant you understanding.”

So Christianity is muscle and miracle—not too much muscle lest we be strained; not too much miracle lest we be drained. We work as if the whole thing depended on us, and trust as if it depended on God.

Pray this todayO Lord Jesus, we put our minds at Thy disposal. Think through them and then inspire them to think more deeply and to aspire more reverently. Set me are with a divine curiosity and illuminate me with Thy mind. Amen.

Affirm this todayI am being invaded from above by Thy revelation, and pervaded from around me by Thy wisdom. How rich I am!

In a highly anticipated reprint of In Christ: Devotions for Every Day of the Year, E. Stanley Jones does a thorough study of the 172 times the phrase, “In Christ” or its equivalent is found in the New Testament. Centering on the theme of being in Christ and what that means for daily living, its meditations ring as true in our modern day as they did when it was originally written more than 50 years ago. Get it from our store here.

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Eli Stanley Jones was an evangelical Methodist missionary to India who sought to make a clear distinction between biblical Christianity and Western culture. For 70 years, Dr. E. Stanley Jones proclaimed the Gospel of Christ throughout the world, earning him the title of "the world's greatest missionary evangelist" by Time magazine in 1938, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 1963, and two Nobel Peace Prize nominations during his lifetime. An author of 29 books, he moved among statesmen and among leaders as counselor, friend, and worker for peace and helped hundreds of thousands, from village outcasts in India to molders of public opinion in America, Japan, Europe, and India.

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