14th February 2022

Wisdom teeth. I have fewer of them now than when I began writing this Thought for the Day. More accurately known as third molars, they begin to grow in our teenage years, much later than our other teeth. It may be another ten or more years before they erupt from beneath the gums. This is most-likely the origin of their name – their appearance was a sign of maturity, “older and wiser” as the saying goes.

They sit quietly at the back of your mouth for years, until one day you find yourself at the dentist and he says, “I have time – I can remove it for you right now”.

The Bible has much to say about wisdom (not so much about teeth). Traditionally a whole section of the Old Testament is known as “wisdom literature” – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs – and a word search finds “wisdom” in every part of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

The book of Psalms begins with a wisdom poem – “Blessed is the one who… delights in the teaching of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps 1.1–2). This figure of speech is reiterated by Jesus in the Bible’s best-known wisdom sayings: “Blessed are the poor in spirit… the merciful… the peacemakers…” (Matthew 5.2–11, the Sermon on the Mount).

Biblical wisdom is not something that comes with age, nor is it revealed to some but not to others. Biblical wisdom comes from meditating on God’s teaching and then living lives that are shaped by that teaching.

Ian Waddington