Wisdom in Learning God’s Commands

by Doy Moyer

The ethics of Christians fall under the category of virtue. Virtue ethics is grounded in the attributes and character of God, for all virtue flows from Him. While there is an obligation of following rules (God’s commandments), there is a significant and vital component of learning wisdom. Why? Because, for the most part, the New Testament does not give a list of rules or specified do’s and don’ts. There is some of that (e.g., I Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21), but even then, we are expected to learn the principles involved in what is specified.

This is why the Hebrews writer can say, “Solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). The ability to discern is wisdom. This is also why it is so fallacious to argue that something is okay just because the Bible doesn’t specifically say it is wrong. That argument is grounded in a lack of wisdom and is instead looking merely at rules. If everything were spelled out specifically, there would be no need to discern.

Wisdom is the domain of the mature who are seeking to glorify God in everything they do and say. While we all fail at this, it is also wise to get back up after a fall and continue on the path of seeking to please God. Virtue is not a one-off action, but a steadfast, life-long journey over hills and valleys, difficulties and triumphs.

"The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.
Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a graceful garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown" (Proverbs 4:7-9).

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