Tag Archives: Wisdom

“The breadth and length and height and depth” by John Calvin

“By these dimensions, Paul means nothing other than the love of Christ, of which he speaks afterwards. The meaning is, that he who knows it truly and perfectly is in every respect a wise man.

As if he had said, ‘In whatever direction men may look, they will find nothing in the doctrine of salvation that should not be related to this.’ The love of Christ contains within itself ever aspect of wisdom.

The meaning will be clearer if we paraphrase it like this: ‘That ye may be able to comprehend the love which is the length, breadth, depth, and height, that is, the complete perfection of our wisdom.’

The metaphor is taken from mathematics, denoting the whole from the parts. Almost all men are infected with the disease of desiring useless knowledge.

Therefore this admonition is very useful: what is necessary for us to know, and what the Lord desires us to contemplate, above and below, on the right hand and on the left, before and behind.

The love of Christ is held out to us to meditate on day and night and to be wholly immersed in. He who holds to this alone has enough.

Beyond it there is nothing solid, nothing useful, nothing, in short, that is right or sound. Go abroad in heaven and earth and sea, you will never go beyond this without overstepping the lawful bounds of wisdom.”

–John Calvin, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, Volume 11, Trans. T.H.L. Parker (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965), 168-169. Calvin is commenting on Ephesians 3:18.

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“No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow” by Alexander Maclaren

“No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant.

Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us.

Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God.

If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.”

–Alexander Maclaren, as quoted in Record of Christian Work, Volume 29 (East Northfield, MA: W.R. Moody, 1910), 29: 338.

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“Technology in its proper place” by Andy Crouch

“Figuring out the proper place for technology in our particular family and stage of life requires discernment rather than a simple formula. Even the ten commitments in this book are meant to be starting points for discussion– and as you will read, they are ones my own family has kept fitfully at best.

But almost anything is better than letting technology overwhelm us with its default settings, taking over our lives and stunting our growth in the ways that really matter. And I think there are some things that are true at every stage of life:

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us bond with the real people we have been given to love. It’s out of its proper place when we end up bonding with people at a distance, like celebrities, whom we will never meet.

Technology is in its proper place when it starts great conversations. It’s out of its proper place when it prevents us from talking with and listening to one another.

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us take care of the fragile bodies we inhabit. It’s out of its proper place when it promises to help us escape the limits and vulnerabilities of those bodies altogether.

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us acquire skill and mastery of domains that are the glory of human culture (sports, music, the arts, cooking, writing, accounting; the list could go on and on). When we let technology replace the development of skill with passive consumption, something has gone wrong.

Technology is in its proper place when it helps us cultivate awe for the created world we are part of and responsible for stewarding (our family spent some joyful and awefilled hours when our children were ill middle school watching the beautifully produced BBC series Planet Earth). It’s out of its proper place when it keeps us from engaging the wild and wonderful natural world with all our senses.

Technology is in its proper place only when we use it with intention and care. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about technology, it’s that it doesn’t stay in its proper place on its own; much like my children’s toys and stuffed creatures and minor treasures, it finds its way underfoot all over the house and all over our lives. If we aren’t intentional and careful, we’ll end up with a quite extraordinary mess.”

–Andy Crouch, The Tech-Wise Family (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017), 19-21.

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“The work of redemption is the face of His wisdom” by Stephen Charnock

“The wisdom of God doth wonderfully appear in redemption. His wisdom in creature ravisheth the eye and understanding. His wisdom in government doth no less affect a curious observer of the links and concatenation of the means.

But His wisdom in redemption mounts the mind to a greater astonishment. The works of creation are the footsteps of His wisdom; the work of redemption is the face of His wisdom.

In Christ, in the dispensation by Him, as well as His person, were ‘hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3). Some doles of wisdom were given out in creation, but the treasures of it opened in redemption, the highest degrees of it that ever God did exert in the world.

Christ is therefore called the ‘wisdom of God,’ as well as the ‘power of God’ (1 Cor. 1:24); and the gospel is called the ‘wisdom of God.’

Christ is the wisdom of God principally, and the gospel instrumentally, as it is the power of God instrumentally to subdue the heart to Himself. This is wrapped up in the appointing Christ as Redeemer, and opened to us in the revelation of it by the gospel.”

–Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, vol. 1, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1682/2000), 552-553.

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“Where the lamb may wade and the elephant may swim” by John Owen

“We look on the Scripture and receive it not as the word of men, but as it is indeed, the word of the living God… In those very fords and appearing shallows of this river of God where the lamb may wade, the elephant may swim. Everything in the Scripture is so plain as that the meanest believer may understand all that belongs unto his duty or is necessary unto his happiness; yet is nothing so plain but that the wisest of them all have reason to adore the depths and stores of divine wisdom in it.”

–John Owen, “The Causes, Ways and Means of Understanding the Mind of God,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 4: The Work of the Spirit (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1678/2004), 4: 193.

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“The first lesson in the school of Christ” by John Newton

“The first lesson in the school of Christ is to become a little child, sitting simply at His feet, that we may be made wise unto salvation.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 248.

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“The only source and fountain of true happiness” by Jonathan Edwards

“We must be sanctified and made holy, and all the men and angels in the universe can’t do that. They have not power enough to raze out the old image of Satan, nor skills enough to draw the image of God upon our souls.

This is a work of the almighty power and wisdom of God, which is Christ: ‘Christ the power of God, and wisdom of God,’ (1 Corinthians 1:24); ‘And what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,’ (Ephesians 1:19).

There is none else that can fill our hearts with grace. We must receive of His fullness and grace for grace.

‘Tis He alone that has received the Spirit without measure: ‘For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him’ (John 3:34).

He is an infinite vessel. He has enough for Himself and for us too, but it is not so with angels.

None else can give us spiritual wisdom, for none know the things of the Spirit. And Christ alone can send into our hearts the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to teach us heavenly things.

There is no other Vine that we can be ingrafted into, that can communicate vital and spiritual nourishment, and, at last eternal life unto us but Christ alone, by whom and for whom are all things, who is before all things, by whom all things consist.

There needs an almighty power to give us our natural life, and less will not suffice to give us our spiritual life.

There is no one else who can conquer our enemies but Christ alone: Power that can conquer the world, power that can triumph over the devil and make a show of him openly, as Christ did upon the cross; power that overcame death and broke his bands, power that can take away his sting, and power that can raise us up at the last day; power that can make us happy when we get into the other world.

Christ Jesus is the only source and fountain of true happiness. ‘Tis He alone that can fill the soul and satisfy it forever.

Christ Jesus is the only complete Redeemer that has worthiness enough, that has enough power, and enough wisdom, and an inexhaustible fountain of grace sufficient for our spiritual life here and our eternal life hereafter.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Life Through Christ Alone” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10. Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 524-525. You can read this sermon on John 6:68 in its entirety here.

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