Biblical wisdom is impatient with the notion of absolute knowledge.
Unless the knower is YHWH, the tradition suggests, all knowledge is provisional. The secret to becoming wise does not lie in finding the key to secret knowledge that is unavailable to others. Nor does it consist of the capacity to crunch more data than others can manage.
Rather, wisdom is the gradually accumulated capacity to discern reality amid the conflicting claims of appearances. It is more a matter of weighing than of counting.
It is also self-critical. A person can think he understands but discover that he’s mistaken. Humility takes in the new input and revises its conclusions accordingly.
A road may seem right to a man, But in the end it is a road to death. (Proverbs 16:25 JPS)
Biblical wisdom is not friendly with posturing or with loudly declared opinions. It seldom raises its voice and almost never gets into bar fights.
Wisdom is considerate. Through persistent use of the capacity for observation and reflection, it checks itself regularly, attentive to the virus of over-confidence.
The wise man knows he might be wrong. This leads not to indecisiveness but rather to that disciplined provisionality that is the stuff of discernment.
It is possible to imagine myself cruising down the highway to life and fulfillment, all signs pointing in agreeable directions, only to realize that I’m hurtling in the wrong direction.
The fool keeps the pedal to the metal. The sage takes the next exit.