New Horizons

Of God's Wisdom

John Flavel

Q. 1. How manifold is the wisdom of God?
A. There is a personal and essential wisdom of God: the personal wisdom of the Son of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24. "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." Colossians 2:3. "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." The essential wisdom of God is the essence of God, of which this Question speaks.

Q. 2. What is the essential wisdom of God?
A. The essential wisdom of God is his most exact and perfect knowledge of himself and all his creatures, and his ordering and disposing them in the most convenient manner, to the glory of his own name. Ephesians 1:11. "According to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

Q. 3. What is the first property of God's wisdom?
A. The first property is that he is only wise. Romans 16:27. "To God only wise, be glory." And whatsoever wisdom is in angels or men is all derived and borrowed from God, but his from none. Isaiah 40:14. "With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?"

Q. 4. What is the second property of God's wisdom?
A. The second property is that he is incomprehensible in his wisdom. Romans 11:33-34. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, etc."

Q. 5. What is the third property of the wisdom of God?
A. The third property is that God is perfectly wise, which no creatures, no not the very angels in heaven, are. Job 4:18. "And his angels he charged with folly."

Q. 6. What is the most glorious display and eminent discovery of the wisdom of God?
A. The most glorious display of the wisdom of God was in the work of our redemption by Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:3. "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." 1 Corinthians 1:24. "Christ ... the wisdom of God."

Q. 7. What is the first instruction from God's wisdom?
A. The first instruction is that God is a fit object of our trust, dependence, and resignation. Isaiah 30:18. "And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him."

Q. 8. What is the second instruction from hence?
A. The second instruction is that it is a dangerous arrogancy in the creature, either to prescribe unto God or direct his Maker. Job 21:22. "Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high." Or to quarrel with his providences, as not so fit and convenient as they should be. Job 40:2. "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it."

Q. 9. What is the third instruction from it?
A. That the people of God have much reason to quiet, and encourage themselves, when crafty and subtle enemies surround them. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man. 1 Corinthians 1:25.

Q. 10. What is the fourth instruction from God's wisdom?
A. The fourth instruction is that the true way to wisdom, is to be sensible of our own folly. 1 Corinthians 3:18. "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise." And to apply ourselves by prayer to God, the fountain of it. James 1:5. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God."

Q. 11. What is the last instruction from God's wisdom?
A. That the study of Christ and of the Scriptures is to be preferred to all other studies in the world. Colossians 2:3. "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." And the Scriptures contain all that wisdom which is for our salvation. 1 Corinthians 2:7. "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory."

Excerpted from Exposition of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism (slightly modernized), by John Flavel (1630-1691). He quotes the KJV. Reprinted from New Horizons, January 2003.

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