Who’s the brightest person in the world—the one with the highest IQ? Some would name Abdesselam Jelloul, who has an IQ of 198. Others say it’s Marilyn vos Savant with her IQ of 228. The Guinness Book of World Records lists physicist and engineer Kim Ung-Yong as having the highest confirmed IQ in the world (210). Interestingly, Albert Einstein had an IQ of “only” 160, while the average IQ for human beings is 90-109.
It’s important to note that a person with a high IQ won’t necessarily be a wise person. All people can act foolishly. So who is a wise person? James says a wise person is one who “[understands] God’s ways” and who shows it “by living an honorable life, doing good works” in an attitude of humility (James 3:13). A wise person isn’t motivated or controlled by jealousy and self-centeredness (James 3:14).
How do wise people live? They’re “first of all pure,” being people of integrity and honesty. They’re “peace loving,” maintaining harmonious relationships with others, “gentle at all times,” mindful of others’ feelings, and “willing to yield to others” because they’re open to reason. “Full of mercy,” kind, and compassionate, they willingly help those in need. They show “no favoritism” and are “always sincere” (James 3:17).
Wise people aren’t measured by how much they know but by how well they live. It’s not about their intelligence. It’s about their character. It’s not what’s in their head, but in their heart.
To be wise, you don’t need a high IQ. You simply need to know God and “understand [His] ways” (James 3:13). Solomon, the wisest man on earth, said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 NIV).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 17:1-26
Read Proverbs 3:13-18, 4:1-11, 8:32-35, and Proverbs 24:14 to hear what the wisest man on earth once said about wisdom.
How can you grow in God’s wisdom? How can intelligence sometimes become a god that makes us wise in our own eyes?