Music and the Spoken Word

Knowledge versus Wisdom - Sunday, November 15, 2015

We live in a day when more knowledge is literally at our fingertips than ever before. With the click of a button or the touch of a screen, we can learn about any topic imaginable. Millions of articles, instructional videos, and the latest breaking news seem to swirl around us. This explosion of information fills our brains and makes us wiser than ever before. Or does it?
The mere collection of facts does not necessarily lead to wise behavior. We all know people with brilliant minds who make unfortunate choices because they lack wisdom. The world has seen far too many tyrants who know how to fight a war but not how to avoid one.
A grade-school teacher said she could train her students to get a perfect score on a test of facts, but she did not consider herself successful unless she taught them how to use those facts to serve others and make the world a better place. Knowledge, to be useful, cannot be a static collection—it must lead to better behavior and improved lives.
Anciently, King Solomon prayed for wisdom—prizing this gift above riches, fame, or even health—so that he could judge his people wisely.1 But one does not need wealth or a lofty social status to become wise. The dilemmas and challenges of everyday life are enough to teach anyone wisdom if we approach them with humility, compassion, integrity, and commitment to high standards. For example, one lesson we’ll learn is that while it’s wonderful to know facts, it’s sometimes more wonderful to keep those facts in our pocket and allow others to shine. Wisdom, we’ll find, is less about showing how much we know and more about how much we can give to those around us. This is one reason being wise always brings greater happiness.2
While we immerse ourselves in the gaining of knowledge, we are “wise to be wise” as well. As a wise humorist once said, “Knowledge consists of knowing that a tomato is a fruit, and wisdom consists of not putting it in a fruit salad.”3

1. See 2 Chronicles 1:7–12.
2. See Proverbs 3:13.
3. Miles Kington, “Heading for a Sticky End,” Independent, Dec. 19, 2013,

Nov. 15, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,496

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Clay Christiansen

Lloyd Newell

O Clap Your Hands
John Rutter

The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare
Dmitri Bortniansky; arr. Mack Wilberg

Joy and Peace
Noël Goemanne

Author of Faith, Eternal Word
Howard Helvey

Come to My Garden, from The Secret Garden
Lucy Simon; arr. Kurt Bestor

And Then Shall Your Light Break Forth, from Elijah
Felix Mendelssohn