The word “philosophy” means, “the love of WISDOM.” Every true Christian (i.e. believer in Jesus Christ) should love wisdom, for we read in Proverbs 4:4-7, “He also taught me, and said to me: ‘Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. GET WISDOM! Get understanding! Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; LOVE HER, and she will keep you. WISDOM is the principle thing; therefore, GET WISDOM. And in all your getting, get understanding” (NKJV). I have no doubt that the wisdom being spoken of here is “wisdom from God” and that this wisdom comes from God’s Word. In the book of James it is called “the wisdom that is from above” (James 3:17). The Book of Proverbs (along with the whole Bible) contains wisdom that teaches us how to live a life with true purpose and satisfaction, a life that will glorify God and be a blessing to our fellow-man. It is obvious that the philosophy that comes from God is to be desired above all other wisdom. We are told twice in the passage quoted, “Get wisdom” and we are also told to “love her.” Surely every born again believer should be FASCINATED BY THIS PHILOSOPHY! Of course this kind of philosophy does NOT contradict Christianity or oppose the word of God, for it is God Himself who imparts this wisdom to us through His precious Word.

Does this imply that it would be wrong to have a “love of wisdom” outside of the Bible? No, for there are other ways to acquire wisdom which honors God and benefits man. There is nothing wrong with learning wisdom through “academic study,” as long as it lines up with the Word of God. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon recalls his search for wisdom in the fields of science, literature, history, the fine arts, etc. If one pursues this ALONG WITH THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE, it should be very profitable and will bring glory to God and blessing to man. The trouble with Solomon’s quest for knowledge and wisdom was that he wasn’t aided by Divine Revelation and thus we read, “And I set my heart to seek and search out by WISDOM concerning all that is done under heaven….I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, ALL IS VANITY AND GRASPING FOR THE WIND” (1:13-14). He goes on to say, “I COMMUNED WITH MY HEART, saying, ‘Look, I have attained greatness, and have GAINED MORE WISDOM THAN ALL THAT WERE BEFORE ME in Jerusalem. My heart has understood GREAT WISDOM and knowledge….I perceived that this also is GRASPING FOR THE WIND.’” His only “traveling companion” in his extensive search for wisdom was HIS OWN HEART! This simply means he was using his own intellect and reasoning powers without the aid of Holy Scripture. The result of this “love of wisdom” was emptiness in his heart which he describes as “vanity and grasping for the wind.”

It should also be noted that there is a very DANGEROUS PHILOSOPHY that we must avoid at all cost. We read of this in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone CHEAT YOU THROUGH PHILOSOPHY and empty deceit, ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION OF MEN, ACCORDING TO THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD, and NOT ACCORDING TO CHRIST.” This speaks of wisdom which not only leaves God out of the process, but it “contradicts Christianity and opposes the Word of God.” As we just saw, it is “not according to Christ.” When Paul wrote these words he was thinking especially of a philosophy known as “Gnosticism” (where men denied the Person and Work of Christ in their teachings) and of Jewish traditions that had replaced the Word of God with RITUALISM, LEGALISM, MYSTICISM and ASCETICISM (see verses 16-23). So, one may be profited by philosophy as long as it comes directly from God’s Word or as long as it doesn’t contradict God’s Word. If it contradicts the Bible it is a FALSE PHILOSOPHY, as in Colossians 2:8, 16-23. James tells us “this wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3:15). This is “worldly wisdom” which God will eventually destroy (see 1st Corinthians 1:18-23). (340.5) (DO)