After doing the study on the prudent wife, I have found myself asking what is prudence anyways? And how do you know a person is properly prudent. When I think of prudence, the thing that comes to mind is the person who is deemed a “prude” or “prudish” by society. You know that person that gets offended by inappropriate jokes. And while there might be a reason they don’t laugh it doesn’t seem that prudence or wisdom is described as that in the Bible.
The dictionary defines prudence as being cautious, wise, having sound or good judgement, shrewdness, good or common sense.
Personally, I know that I have smarts in certain areas but I would love to be known for wisdom and prudence. That’s part of why I am doing this study. My other reason is – If I want to know about it – maybe someone else does too.
I’m not going to do a lot of in-depth verses for this study because it has many MANY verses that are related to it. This is probably going to be a long post as I will be covering all the verses I can find on prudence. I will also be posting after this in a separate post biblical examples of prudence. Honestly I’m super excited to be “walking” through this study with you. I feel like the most foolish person after some of the verses I have read but I’m so excited to learn and grow in this area and I really hope you are too!
Psalms 112:5 “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.”
- Prudence allows you to give and act graciously because your affairs are enacted with justice and prudence; you have taken care of what you needed to and do not conduct affairs foolishly.
Proverbs 2:11-12 “11 discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you,12 delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech..”
- If we cultivate prudence or discretion and we will have an understanding that will guard us.
- Prudence will deliver us from evil men and perverted speech (this isn’t just referring to foul language – any words that need not be said)
Proverbs 3:21-24 “21 My son, do not lose sight of these—
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
- If we do not lose sight of wisdom and prudence:
- They will be refreshing (live-giving) for our soul and adornment (a thing of beauty) around our necks
- we will have no need to fear because we will be able to see truth from lies.
Proverbs 8:12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.”
- When you gain prudence and wisdom you gain knowledge and discretion.
Proverbs 12:16 “The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.”
- The prudent know an insult when it comes and they don’t allow it time or energy in their mind.
Proverbs 12:23 “A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly.”
This verse is a bit obscure but I believe that it means:
- a prudent man doesn’t offer unsolicited advice. Meaning – they give opinions when it’s asked but don’t walk around telling others what they think they should be doing. I believe this because throughout the Bible – God tells us that a prudent man seeks knowledge and a fool disregards it. Prudence and wisdom are to be guarded treasures.
Proverbs 13:16 “Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly.”
- The Prudent seek the best course of action before acting
- The fool does what is right in his own sight
Proverbs 14:8-9 “8 The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way,
but the folly of fools is deceiving.
9 Fools mock at the guilt offering,
but the upright enjoy acceptance.“
- Wisdom of the prudent allows them to discern their way
- Fools allow themselves to be deceived
- Verse 9 says that fools mock at apologies but the prudent seek restoration.
Proverbs 14:15-18 “15 The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
but a fool is reckless and careless.
17 A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
and a man of evil devices is hated.
18 The simple inherit folly,
but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”
- The simple believes everything that comes across their path – they are like ships in a storm being blown around, they are easily deceived
- The prudent give thought to their steps, they are cautious and turn away from evil
- The prudent are crowned with knowledge (it adorns their head and is constantly with them)
- The fool is reckless and careless
- The fool is a man/woman who is quick of temper and acts foolishly; they are despised and inherit folly.
Proverbs 15:5 “A fool despises his father’s instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.”
- Foolish people despise instruction
- Prudent head reproof
Proverbs 16:21 “The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”
- Discerning hearts are called wise and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. I like to think of the phrase “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. There is a way to say wisdom in a sweet manner. I think a lot of christians try to beat truth into people with a stick. Let your wisdom be available and be given gently.
Proverbs 18:15 “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
- Prudent people seek wisdom and knowledge
Proverbs 19:11 “Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
- The Prudent man is slow to anger and he give grace to offenders
Proverbs 22:3 “The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
- The prudent look ahead to see what is coming – they have the sense to foresee what each decision will bring, they avoid unnecessary danger
- The fool continues on whether or not he has the sense to look ahead for trouble.
- Think of it this way if a sheep gets its head stuck in a fence – it will just keep pushing forward verses pulling its head out, which leaves it defenseless and vulnerable to predators. The prudent aren’t like sheep. They see the fence and avoid going near it so as not to become defenseless and vulnerable.
Proverbs 31:16 “She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”
- The proverbs 31 woman is classic. Everyone knows she is prudent. She considers a field – she thinks over her decisions. She buys it and with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She follows through on what she knows to be a prudent decision and then works hard to maintain it.
Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
- The prudent woman/man speaks wisdom and kindness when she does talk.
Isaiah 52:13 “Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.”
- While I realize that this verse is referring to Christ – I would like to note that we are to be imitators of Christ. Therefore it is applicable to us.
- We are to act wisely as we are Christs/Gods servants
- Only then will we be exalted for our wisdom (Think Joseph)
Hosea 14:9 “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.”
- If you seek wisdom, follow in the ways of the Lord for they are upright and will help you build more wisdom.
Amos 5:13 “Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time,
for it is an evil time.”
- I believe this goes back to Proverbs 12:23 – Not giving wisdom out left and right when unasked for. But being silent and waiting for others to ask.
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
- As believers in Christ we are called to be cunning and wise like serpents. However, we are not to harm others. This means with words or actions, to be gentle like doves.
Ephesians 5:15-16 “15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
- We are to walk as the Wise – in wisdom
- Not pretending to be wise but to really be wise
- Time is short – please understand this – our lives while they feel long they are blinks in the eyes of eternity. I’m not one to preach on the end times but if believers left the earth today – would the ones you leave behind wonder where you had gone or would they know for certain because of the life you lead?
- The foolish don’t care about what God wants.
- The wise seek God’s wisdom.
Colossians 4:5-6 “5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
- Walk in wisdom toward outsiders – In other words make sure your life is full of wisdom of the Lord – make them want to be like you.
- Make the best use of time – It’s short people make sure your making a difference (even planting seeds for someone else to water ia a good use of the time)
- Make your speech be seasoned with salt – make others want to be thirsty for Christ.
This has been a lot to cover so please allow me to recap:
- We are to seek God’s wisdom, not the wisdom of man
- We are to give wisdom when asked but live it out first
- We are to be gracious
- Consider our steps before taking them – live cautiously
- Be on the look out for danger and avoid it when possible.
- Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove
- Seek restoration and do not mock apologies when given
- Don’t take offense at insults – they aren’t worth your time, which is short and we are to live well using our time to our best abilities.
- After prudently dealing with your affairs – give graciously.
A few ways to gain knowledge:
- Talk to your pastor
- Read your Bible
- Pray, Pray, Pray!!!!!!!!
Everyone stumbles – don’t give up. The next post will be on life-examples of wisdom in the Bible.
I’ll be praying for you, I hope you pray for me. God Bless.