A Bible study on wisdom in Job
In Job 28, it's Job's turn to speak, and he makes an interesting comparison between earth’s treasures and wisdom, which makes for a good discussion on the topic of wisdom and priorities in life.
To illustrate some of the ideas presented in the chapter, organize a treasure hunt. Hide some prizes and have people search for them.
When I did this study in Kenya, I hid twenty-shilling coins (not much, but still worthwhile) in the room where we were doing the study. They were hidden, but not in places where people had to move things to find them. I also hid a better prize (a 100-shilling bill) in a location that would have been nearly impossible to find without instructions, but for this treasure I provided a “map.” If I had been better prepared I wouldn’t have used money (maybe food or other prizes).
Read Job 28:1-11 and answer the following two questions.
- What do these verses tell us about humans? Humans have a special ability of finding treasure—valuable things that no other animal finds or knows about. People set their mind, their strength and sometimes their heart on treasures like gold, gems, and other shiny things.
- Maybe you can’t relate to mining gold. What are some examples of treasure that capture the desire of people you know? People may suggest high-paying jobs, cars, fame, or any earthly thing of value.
Read Job 28:12-28 and answer the following questions.
- What is a treasure we can’t see? Wisdom. Simple answer.
- How valuable is it, according to the passage? More valuable than gold, crystal, pearls.
- Who knows about it? “God understands its way, and He knows its place.” At this point, a leader could remind the group of the “better treasure” that was located during the activity, and how it was invisible without instructions from someone in the know.
- God tells us something that “is wisdom” What is it? “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.”
- In your group, try to come up with some things about the answer to #6 that help us grow in wisdom. Hint: Think about what the fear of the Lord means, and relate that to what Job 28 tells us about wisdom. A much more challenging question, that can hopefully generate some discussion. Following are some ideas that spring from the fear of the Lord that might be able to be drawn out of group dialogue.
- God’s greatness. How is God great?
- He exists forever; we are created
- He knows everything; we know only what we can sense
- He is holy; we sin
Wisdom is understanding more of the greatness of God.
- Our brokenness. God’s greatness reveals our brokenness, and it is much better to have a problem and be aware of it than to have a problem and be ignorant of it. Example: walking around with your fly undone.
Wisdom is understanding our brokenness and looking to God for help.
- Eternity. How could wisdom be better than gold, or a nice car? It only makes sense if we understand that God has a plan for us beyond our life in this world.
Wisdom is understanding that God’s will for us is eternal life.