Who is the wise man, as opposed to the simple and the young?
NKJV - 5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.
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The wise (as Solomon was using the term) are those, first, whose view of life is shaped by a knowledge of and reverence for the God of the Bible, including His commandments and laws, and of the position of man relative to Him. (As Solomon said in Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.") The wise then not only intellectually absorb this information, but also put it into appropriate practice and application in their actions and decisions. This ability does not necessarily correlate with age or formal instruction (as secular education would), or with intelligence in terms of knowledge of facts, although it can be enhanced by those attributes, as well as by life experience. It is the ability to understand people on a human level in specific situations, and to relate that understanding to general principles of conduct in addressing or resolving them. It is also a knowledge of the limitations of one's own abilities, prompting the appropriate use of the counsel of others, or the seeking of God's help through prayer and His revealed word. The simple, by contrast, relates to those (of whatever age) who willfully either do not seek wisdom, or do not apply it in their conduct; or who (although they may be very intelligent) look down on others who are wiser than they because those others do not possess a given degree of formal education or factual knowledge; or who reject out-of-hand possibilities or events that cannot be naturally explained.
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