Christian Living

Wisdom Model Summary

Author Greg Koukl Published on 03/22/2013

Taken from “Decision Making & the Will of God”

The basic premise of the “Wisdom Model” is that we have freedom to choose anything we want within the dual parameters of God’s moral will (revealed in the Bible) and wisdom, with God’s full blessing. The Scriptures make no other restrictions than those unless there is an individualized command by supernatural special revelation (e.g. Acts 9:6, 9:11–15, 13:2, 10:1–6 etc.)

I. God doesn’t decide for us. Instead, like a good Father, He teaches us how to decide...

A. In submission to God’s moral will

  1. We are not allowed to choose any alternative that will violate Scripture.
  2. God’s moral will governs not just the ends we pursue, but also the means to the ends, our attitudes and our motives in the process.
  3. We learn God’s moral will from the Scripture through reading (1 Tim 4:13), search and inquiry (1 Peter 1:10–11), diligent study (2 Tim 2:15), careful consideration (2 Tim 2:7), meditation (Ps 1:2), memorization (Ps 119:11), and gifted teachers (Eph 4:11).
  4. Problem: Sometimes we fancy we’ve received special guidance from the Lord and then violate some clear directive of Scripture in order to pursue it.

B. With wisdom, that which is sensible, morally sound, and expedient

  1. God commands us to pray for wisdom (James 1:5).
  2. Proverbs teaches that wisdom helps us make good choices (Prov 1:1–6, 2:9, 8:35–36).
  3. Wisdom come from many sources: the Bible, counsel, research, instruction, and experience.

C. Being sensitive to the personal element

Issues of personal desire and personal conscience are important, valid considerations.

D. In humble submission to God’s sovereign intervention

  1. God has the privilege, though not the obligation, of intervening in any of our plans.
  2. God uses obstacles, roadblocks, problems, and circumstances to redirect our paths.
  3. We respond by making wise choices as new factors become evident, with an attitude of dependence and trust in God (James 4:13–18, Prov 3:4–6, Ps 138:8).
  4. In the process of our free will decision making, God fulfills His sovereign purposes.

II. Conclusion: The Wisdom Model in action

  1. Determine which options, if any, are excluded in a biblical examination of goals, means, and motives.
  2. Apply wisdom and personal desires to the remaining choices. Examine circumstances, research facts, weigh alternatives, gather information, seek counsel.
  3. Make your decision with an attitude of humble trust in the Lord: “If God wills...”
  4. Adjust to new circumstances as they arise using the same method.

Role Models in Scripture: Paul’s decision to go to Rome (Rom 1:8–15), Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), Paul’s advice on marriage (1 Cor 7), Paul’s second and third missionary journeys (Acts 15:36, 18:23), etc.