Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson.
1. What is wisdom?
2. What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?
Read Ecclesiastes 2:13.
1. In his search for the meaning of life, King Solomon discovered that some things were better than others. How is wisdom better than foolishness? Why do you think Solomon used light and darkness as analogies for wisdom and foolishness?
2. Does wisdom always come with age and achievement? Read Ecclesiastes 4:13, 14 and discuss whether or not wisdom requires gray hairs or advanced social, educational, or economic levels.
Read Ecclesiastes 7:5, 11, 12, 19.
3. List several characteristics of wise people. Talk about people you know personally who exhibit them. What do they do to grow in wisdom?
4. Are you wise—or just knowledgeable? Referring to Proverbs 1:5-7, discuss the difference between knowledge and genuine wisdom. If you have a Bible app on your phone, read alternate translations in The Message or the Amplified Bible for different takes on the subject.
Read Ecclesiastes 8:1.
5. How does wisdom change a person’s life? Have you ever had a wise teacher, one who is good at explaining complicated things? Or seen someone’s face light up with understanding? Talk about the last time you gave or received understanding and wisdom like this and how it changed your outlook on life.
6. In the Old Testament, people did not have the benefit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to help them discern God’s will and connect with his presence. Fortunately, James, the brother of Jesus and pillar of the early church, recognized and wrote that wisdom is only a prayer away. Read James 1:5-8. To whom does God give wisdom and how does he give it? What conditions are placed on this wisdom?
7. Wisdom has spiritual indicators that make it discernible, too. In James 3:13-16, we read about two kinds of wisdom: heavenly and demonic. What are the characteristics of each? What kind of wisdom do you display?
8. Read James 3:17, 18. How are peace and wisdom connected? Discuss practical ways to live out wisdom in your life this week.
Conclude your group time with prayer, using the following as a guide. Father, your Word says that if we want wisdom, we need but ask you and you will give generously without finding fault in our request. Pour out your Spirit of wisdom on us, Jesus, and let us be wise to lead in our day! Amen.