Day 2

The Limitations of Wisdom

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan


Ecclesiastes 1:12-18, Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 3:1-7, James 3:13-17

BY Ellen L. Taylor

I’ve always loved school. I was never the kid who held up the thermometer to a lamp so I could stay home, and the only time I ever cried about having to go to school was when it was the last day before summer. Even in high school, when getting up at 6:30 in the morning seemed like the worst thing in the world, I was still so happy to be at school once I got there (as long as I got there with some coffee).

Because of my love for school, my family and I have often joked that being a life-long student would be my dream job. And it’s true, really, most of my current career aspirations involve school, school, and then more school. It’s even better that my subject of choice is theology; I get to learn about God every day.

When I was in divinity school, I had a bit of a crisis of faith. I found myself asking, “What is the point of paying all this money to learn about a God who is so beyond our comprehension that we could never learn all there is to know?” The learning began to feel ominous, daunting, and scary, rather than invigorating and inviting.

The author of Ecclesiastes is asking a similar question in today’s reading. Many scholars believe that King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, and he is known as one of the wisest men in the Bible. He has spent all of this time learning and seeking out wisdom, but for what? He writes, “I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly; I learned that this too is a pursuit of the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:17). He has come to the realization that not even the greatest knowledge will satisfy his deepest desire. Nothing compares to a relationship with God.

I found this out the hard way in grad school. One of the hardest things for me was that I couldn’t seem to find colleagues who talked about God like God is real. For so many, God is something to be studied, rather than someone to know. In my life as a writer and editor now, I make every effort to both study and know God, because there is always more to learn, but He already knows it all.

There is a vast difference in knowledge about God and knowledge of God. Even though I love learning more than any other earthly thing, knowledge about God can never compare to the contentment of knowing of God—having a personal relationship with the Creator of knowledge Himself.

Post Comments (85)

85 thoughts on "The Limitations of Wisdom"

  1. sarahmnng says:

    “not even the greatest knowledge will satisfy his deepest desire”

    I always hear this phrase but honestly a lot of times I struggle to prioritize God. Whenever I want to do something for myself, I usually seek help from other people. I know what my heart longs for but I’m too stubborn to do it. I just really pray that time will come when I could finally say that I choose God first over anything.

  2. Mary Jane Zynda says:

    Thanks ladies, love all what you shared. This is so true and convicting, I Desire to know HIM more and more each day. He is my daily source.

  3. Laurel BaciulisBačiulytėSmith says:

    I love to study God—about Him, what He’s like, but I also love my relationship with Him. Knowing He is RIGHT THERE when I turn in anguish,or gladness or terror. God doesn’t come & go. He stays.

  4. Lindsay Handrich says:

    The simple and wise alike can be right with God. And that’s comforting.

  5. Cali Fullen says:

    Love this. Simply said.

  6. Tracy Wietsma says:

    In breaking down heavenly wisdom in James 3:17 I realized this is the wisdom I would like to show to others, especially my family, especially right now as we are all together, all the time.

  7. Brandy Yell says:

    There’s a vast difference in knowledge OF God and knowledge ABOUT God ! “ That

  8. Mariah Addington says:

    Today was a reminder of my need for God. My motivations and thoughts about the correct prescription for this pandemic should not be arrogant and one minded. I should be able to hear others’ thoughts and not become upset because they are different than mine. I need to learn that to love is not to have an agenda.
    And, on the flip side, when people are acting out of self ambition towards me I need to love them in return.

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