Greek Pronunciation [sah FEE ah]
HCSB Translation: wisdom
Uses in the NT: 51
“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”
(1 Corinthians 2:6-8)
The Greek noun sophia means wisdom, intelligence, or knowledge, but this intelligence and knowledge pertain more to skill in living than to attainment of facts. Related words are the verb sophizo, meaning to make wise (2 Tim. 3:15; 2 Pet. 1:16), and sophos, the adjective meaning wise or clever.
In the OT, wisdom does not refer to intellectual ability but to one who looks to God for instruction. Solomon stated that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Pr 1:7), which implies that even a genius who does not fear God is a fool (see Ps 14:1).
Paul understood sophia in the light of the OT. He saw worldly wisdom and God’s wisdom as opposites (see 1 Cor. 2:1-9; Col. 2:23). The Greeks depended on human mental prowess and insight to unravel the mysteries of life, but Paul relied on God’s revelation in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; Eph 1:8-9, 17; 3:8-12). This is why Paul said that God’s wisdom in Christ is not “of this age” and “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor. 2:6; 3:19).
Word Studies courtesy of the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible. Used with permissions from B&H Publishing Group, A Division of LifeWay Christian Resources.