What Does Prudence Mean In The Bible?

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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What visual picture do you conjure up when you hear the word prudent? The term “prude” has a negative connotation due to its use as a slang term for modesty throughout the teenage years. According to Webster, a wise person exhibits “knowledge or judiciousness, cautious guidance, as well as shrewdness in the handling of practical concerns.” But what is the prudent meaning in the Bible?

One who acts with much wisdom and forethought is prudent. Many facets of one’s existence may be affected. It’s more than just a definition; it’s a way of life for a Christian.

What Does Prudence Mean In The Bible?

Prudence[1] is the completion of reason or the soul’s innate ability to perceive reality accurately. Prudence considers more than just the material world; it also considers the spiritual and interpersonal contexts in which we find ourselves. Discernment is another word for prudence. A wise person can tell when an idea or action is consistent with reality and when it is not.

The ability to detect assets is a component of caution, but it is not the only one. Part of this includes the foresight to act on these assessments. As a result, a wise individual knows how to make the appropriate choices. Because it does not view reality in fragments but in its entirety, and, within the Christian sense, under God’s revealed word in scripture, this is more than just utilitarianism.

Consequently, wisdom is the ability to see and do what is right in light of the truth, as revealed in nature and the Bible. However, wisdom is not the same as kindness. All good Christian deeds are driven by charity. Charity takes the form of prudence, which is deliberate, judicial, and determined.

As a result, the entire prudential procedure is driven by charity. We can only feel the urgency to pray, consider our options, and take action if our love for God drives us. While charity is essential, it should not replace sound judgment. To make choices that demonstrate God and man’s love, wisdom is required.

In the Bible, a prudent wife is also a loving wife. She is wise in the ways of God and uses her wisdom to serve her husband and others. A prudent wife is a woman who knows how to love her husband, obey him well, manage their home, and raise their children according to God’s law. Even in an evil time, a prudent wife will seek to do good and be faithful. She does not allow the world’s ways to corrupt her heart, but instead, she uses her wisdom for good.

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What Is A Prudent Person?

Many people would name King Solomon as the first person who comes to mind when they think of a conservative figure from the Bible. Solomon was given the option of anything, and he picked wisdom. Since caution is closely related to knowledge, you can see it in Solomon’s kingship. Two different ladies laid claim to the same infant at one point, and that’s just one example—the ability to use wisdom aids in making equitable and just decisions.

In 1 Kings 3:16–28, we learn that King Solomon was presented with a difficult problem. Three days apart, two prostitutes delivered healthy kids. They were the sole residents of the house, and one of the women tragically lost a child when she fell asleep on top of her infant boy.

Rather than grieve her dead baby, this mother took another woman’s baby and claimed it was her own. The real mother of the baby saw the dead body and realized it wasn’t her prudent son. The women then debated in the presence of Solomon over whose infant was still alive.

King Solomon says in verses 24–25, “Get me a sword.” This is why they presented the king with a blade. The king then ordered that the living infant be divided in half and given to each of his subjects. Very diverse reactions came from the two females. One woman suggested splitting the kid and giving one half to the other woman.

At that point, Solomon recognized the baby’s true mother and delivered him to the woman willing to sacrifice herself for the child’s sake. King Solomon exercised his knowledge and judgment to render a just verdict. The modern judicial system greatly benefits from people with such qualities.

Caution is the ability to tell right from wrong. Our ability to make well-informed choices is greatly enhanced. Moreover, one of the Spirit’s fruits is wisdom, so those who are filled with the Holy Spirit can make wise decisions.

What Is A Non-Prudent Person?

Because prudence is so crucial, a person who lacks it might depend on their station in life and the people for whom they are responsible or they might inflict significant harm on both themselves and those around them. Consider the Titanic’s captain. The massive cruise ship he was piloting hit an iceberg after he disregarded repeated warnings of its impending collision.

Knowledge is contained in textbooks, but experience is found only over time, and this is something that cannot be taught in a book. Those with a level head and a good heart use this strategy to avert disasters. Those with foresight avoid peril by hiding, but those without will learn the hard way, as the Titanic’s captain did.

Lessons From Proverbs About Prudence

One of the characteristics of a smart guy is that he is careful and evaluates his route. That is, he is trying to figure out who he is, where he is headed, and the purpose of his current actions. A moral compass helps the prudent man stay on the right path in life, and he can do this because he possesses moral and spiritual discernment. On the other hand, the fool engages in folly without realizing the harm he is causing himself; he is fooling himself.

Instead of working against or without understanding, a prudent man works with knowledge. When faced with a new situation, a sensible guy gathers all the relevant information and moves forward. All of this starkly contrasts with a fool’s egotistical antics. A fool’s actions unintentionally reveal his idiocy to the world; he does things without understanding or even in defiance of such truth, and even the comical or tragic results expose his idiocy. 

A wise man observes more than he explains; he is receptive to new information but does not rush to share everything he has learned. According to Ecclesiastes 3:7, there is a moment to preserve silence and a time to speak, so understand that this is not a question of lying but of prudence. Discretion and self-control are hallmarks of the wise, and this is especially true when it comes to one’s words.

Because he values and is open to divine wisdom, a wise man may see the bad. He is prescient and knows when a scenario presents a risk of tempting him to stray from God’s law and his own better judgment. The wise man “hides” from evil. Knowing the dangers ahead, he takes precautions by turning around them rather than risking his mental health by walking blindly into them.

When we talk about discipline, we’re talking about all the aspects of a person’s upbringing with cardinal virtues: rewards and punishments, praise and criticism, guidance and reprimand. A naive person despises all forms of discipline and stubbornly refuses to follow it, rebels against it, and even abandons it altogether.

A man of wisdom, however, will take corrections to heart, understanding that his father is only trying to guide him in the right direction out of love and care. A man who learns to take criticism well demonstrates and develops wisdom.

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We live in a fast-paced society these days. Our lives will improve if we refrain from making snap judgments and carefully consider the options before us. Sure, we’ll need to take measures at some point, but what if we fervently asked God to slow us down and give us clarity before we acted?

All the divine power of the Holy Spirit is available to Christians. Wisdom is a fruit of the Spirit, and prudence results from wisdom. A wise individual will exercise restraint and common sense in any circumstance. The Lord wills that every one of us act with a modicum of wisdom compared to the day before.

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