Wisdom – select quotes

My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul.
~ Bible, Proverbs 3:21,22

Memory is the mother of all wisdom.
~ Aeschylus

To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.
~ Akhenaton

Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and Thy wisdom infinite.
~ Augustine of Hippo, in Confessions

Patience is the companion of wisdom.
~ Augustine of Hippo

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.
~ Francis Bacon

There are in fact four very significant stumbling-blocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge.
~ Roger Bacon

The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.
~ Honore de Balzac

Learning sleeps and snores in libraries, but wisdom is everywhere, wide awake, on tiptoe.
~ Josh Billings

I speak as an unregenerate reader, one who still believes that language and not technology is the true evolutionary miracle. I have not yet given up on the idea that the experience of literature offers a kind of wisdom that cannot be discovered elsewhere; that there is profundity in the verbal encounter itself, never mind what further profundities that author has to offer; and that for a host of reasons the bound book is the ideal vehicle for the written word.
~ Sven Birkerts, in The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age (NY: Fawcett, 1994), page 6.

To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential. But on the other hand, knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things. And so the wise man will seek to acquire the best possible knowledge about events, but always without becoming dependent upon this knowledge. To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom.
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tis sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.
~ Marcus Porcius Cato

In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it – thou art a fool.
~ Lord Chesterfield

The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.
~ Cicero

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Master said, He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
~ Confucius, in Analects

By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitations, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
~ Confucius

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.
~ Confucius

A word to the wise ain’t necessary, it’s the stupid ones who need the advice.
~ Bill Cosby

Instead of seeking wisdom, liberals desire to be seen as clever by being counterintuitive, crazy, and outre. ~ Ann Coulter, in The Church of Liberalism

Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences.
~ Norman Cousins

There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.
~ Charles Dickens

The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated by quotations.
~ Benjamin Disraeli

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This type of man who is devoted to the study of wisdom is always most unlucky in everything, and particularly when it comes to procreating children; I imagine this is because Nature wants to ensure that the evils of wisdom shall not spread further throughout mankind.
~ Desiderius Gerhard Erasmus, in The Praise of Folly

Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom.
~ Euripides

Cleverness is not wisdom.
~ Euripides

Silence is true wisdom’s best reply.
~ Euripides

Some wisdom you must learn from one who’s wise.
~ Euripides

Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.
~ Martin Fischer

Silence is not always a Sign of Wisdom, but Babbling is ever a folly.
~ Benjamin Franklin

The doors of wisdom are never shut.
~ Benjamin Franklin

The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.
~ Benjamin Franklin

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
~ Mahatma Ghandi

My proof convinces the ignorant, and the wise man’s proof convinces me. But he whose reasoning falls between wisdom and ignorance, I neither can convince him, nor can he convince me.
~ Khalil Gibran

Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.
~ Khalil Gibran

Wisdom is found only in truth.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.
~ Baltasar Gracian

In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.
~ Alfred Whitney Griswold, in Essays on Education

If you lack knowledge, go to school. If you lack wisdom, get on your knees.
~ Vance Havner

But goodness alone is never enough. A hard cold wisdom is required, too, for goodness to accomplish good. Goodness without wisdom invariably accomplishes evil.
~ Robert Heinlein

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone.
~ Horace

To know when to be generous and when firm—that is wisdom.
~ Elbert Hubbard

Wisdom is a sacred communion.
~ Victor Hugo

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
~ William James

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Memory is the mother of all wisdom.
~ Samuel Johnson

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; Skill is knowing how to do it, and Virtue is doing it.
~ David Starr Jordan

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
~ Immanuel Kant

A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat.
~ Louis L’Amour

Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.
~ Doug Larson

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.
~ Doug Larson

It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and say the opposite.
~ Sam Levenson

The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.
~ C.S. Lewis

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
~ Abraham Lincoln

It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
~ Walter Lippmann

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
~ Naguib Mahfouz

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
~ H. L. Mencken

Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.
~ William Menninger

Courageous, untroubled, mocking and violent-that is what Wisdom wants us to be. Wisdom is a woman, and loves only a warrior.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The result proves the wisdom of the act.
~ Ovid

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
~ Bible, Colossians 3:16-17

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”
~ Bible, Mark 6:1-4

For wisdom shall enter into thine heart, and knowledge shall be pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall watch over thee, understanding shall keep thee.
~ Bible, Proverbs 2:10,11

He who walks with the wise grows wise.
~ Bible, Proverbs 13:20

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
~ Bible, Proverbs 19:11

Know that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
~ Bible, Proverbs 24:14

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
~ Bible, James 3:17

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.
~ Chinese Proverb

All the wisdom of the world consists of shouting with the majority.
~ Thomas B. Reed

It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.
~ Francois De La Rochefoucauld

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
~ Theodore Isaac Rubin

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
~ Bertrand Russell

Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
~ George Santayana

Some folks are wise and some are otherwise.
~ Tobias Smollett

Wisdom begins in wonder.
~ Socrates

Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.
~ Sophocles

Wisdom outweighs any wealth.
~ Sophocles

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Wisdom oft lurks beneath a tattered coat.
~Caecilius Statius

What a man knows at 50 that he did not know at 20 is, for the most part incommunicable. The knowledge he has acquired with age is not the knowledge of formulas, or forms of words, but of people, places, actions—a knowledge gained not by words but by touch, sight, sound, victories, failures, sleeplessness, devotion, love—the human experiences and emotions of this earth and of oneself and other men; and perhaps, too, a little faith, a little reverence for things one cannot see.
~ Adlai Stevenson

Don’t expect wisdom to come into your life like great chunks of rock on a conveyer belt. Wisdom comes privately from God as a byproduct of right decisions, godly reactions, and the application of spiritual principles to daily circumstances.
~ Charles Swindoll

It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise.
~ Sara Teasdale

It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
~ Henry David Thoreau

The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities, we will then be a happy and a virtuous people.
~ Mark Twain

Wisdom begins at the end.
~ Daniel Webster

Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.
~ Edith Wharton

Wisdom is not finally tested in the schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.
~ Walt Whitman

Wise people listen to wise instruction, especially instruction from the Word of God.
~ Warren Wiersbe

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
~ Oprah Winfrey

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
~ Lin Yutang

A wise old owl sat on an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?


Pray, but when you pray, move to your feet.
~ African proverb

Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.  (“A person is a person through other persons.”)
~ African saying

Who works achieves and who sows reaps.
~ Arabian Proverb

God promises a safe landing but not a calm passage.
~ Bulgarian proverb

Biggest profits mean gravest risks.
~ Chinese Proverb

The man who removed the mountain began by carrying away small stones.
~Chinese proverb

Words spoken may fly away… The writing-brush leaves its mark.
~ Chinese Proverb

Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
~ Indian proverb

It is better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep.
~ Old Persian proverb

Think that day lost whose low descending sun
Views from thy hand no noble actions done.
~ Ancient proverb

Bad news goes about in clogs, good news in stockinged feet.
~ Welsh proverb



Evangelism – select quotes

The hardest people to reach with the love of God are not the bad people. They know they are bad. They have no defense. The hardest ones to win for God are the self-righteous people.
~ Charles L. Allen

A theology of response does not need to be Pelagian; it need only be a theology in which the reality of the human is taken seriously.
~ Gary Badcock in The Way of Life

Evandalism. n. Using spray paint to write “John 3:16” on public structures.
~ Pete Briscoe, in Belief Matters: Grappling With the Essentials of the Christian Faith, page 117.

Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.
~ Frederick W. Faber

We’ve drifted away from being fishers of men to being keepers of the aquarium.
~ Paul Harvey

If every person in the world had adequate food, housing, income; if all men were equal and every possible social evil and injustice were done away with, men would still need one thing: Jesus Christ!
~ J. W. Hyde