Book of Wisdom

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Wisdom, the Book of Wisdom, also called The Wisdom of Solomon, is found in the books of the Septuagint, the Old Testament accepted as inspired and canonical by the Orthodox Church in the Greek Orthodox Bible, and found in the books of the Old Testament of the Vulgate and included in the canon of inspired scripture by the Third Council of Carthage (397). Since the Council of Trent it is dogmatically accepted as inspired and canonical by the Catholic Church in the Catholic Bible—books of the Bible accepted as divinely inspired by the majority of Christian believers in the United States and throughout the world.[1][2]

Wisdom was first removed from the Old Testament and placed in the Apocrypha as The Wisdom of Solomon by Martin Luther in the 16th century. The Book of Wisdom is regarded as an apocryphal book of the Old Testament by less than one-third of Christian believers.[2] Numerous verses in Paul's Epistle to the Romans—considered by many to be his finest work—are similar to verses in Wisdom.

Wisdom was written in Greek about fifty years before Christ, and contains a remarkable prophecy of his persecution:[3]

Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us;

he opposes our actions,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the Lord.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the righteous
and boasts that God is his Father.

Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him in the end.
For if the righteous one is the son of God, God will help him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With violence and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
And they did not know the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense for holiness
nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.
For God formed us to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made us.
But by the envy[e] of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who are allied with him experience it.


Wisdom is a text of unknown authorship, which has sometimes been attributed to Solomon. As its name suggests, the book deals with the subject of wisdom, containing advice for the reader and praising wisdom itself. Although the Book of Wisdom is not regarded as canonical by Protestants, it has had an undeniable influence on Christian tradition and philosophy. For example, the four cardinal virtues originate from chapter 8 of the book.

Chapter headings

The Douay-Rheims Bible has the following chapter summary headings:

1 An exhortation to seek God sincerely, who cannot be deceived, and desireth not our death.
2 The vain reasonings of the wicked: their persecuting the just, especially the Son of God.
3 The happiness of the just: and the unhappiness of the wicked.
4 The difference between the chaste and the adulterous generations: and between the death of the just and the wicked.
5 The fruitless repentance of the wicked in another world: the reward of the just.
6 An address to princes to seek after wisdom: she is easily found by those that seek her.
7 The excellence of wisdom: how she is to be found.
8 Further praises of wisdom: and her fruits.
9 Solomon's prayer for wisdom.
10 What wisdom did for Adam, Noe, Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, and the people of Israel.
11 Other benefits of wisdom to the people of God.
12 God's wisdom and mercy in his proceedings with the Chanaanites.
13 Idolaters are inexcusable: and those most of all that worship for gods the works of the hands of men.
14 The beginning of worshipping idols: and the effects thereof.
15 The servants of God praise him who hath delivered them from idolatry; condemning both the makers and the worshippers of idols.
16 God's different dealings with the Egyptians and with his own people.
17 The Egyptian darkness.
18 The slaughter of the firstborn in Egypt: the efficacy of Aaron's intercession, in the sedition on occasion of Core ("Korah" KJV)
19 Why God shewed no mercy to the Egyptians. His favour to the Israelites. All creatures obey God's orders for the service of the good, and the punishment of the wicked.

Prophesy of the crucifixion of Jesus

The Book of Wisdom, written shortly before Jesus was born (c. 50 B.C.), sets forth a remarkably accurate prophecy of the passion of Christ: Wisdom 2:12-21 NABRE

See King James Bible Online: Apocrypha Books: Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 2


  1. The Catholic Church is the world's largest Christian body comprised of several distinct "Rites". The Catholic Church (Latin Rite) is the largest religious body in the United States, with over 60 million adherents (4 times as large as the second largest church, the Orthodox).
    “The Global Catholic Population,” © 2011, Pew Research Center.
    The Largest Catholic Communities
    The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church, and also referred to as the Orthodox Church and Orthodoxy, is the second largest Christian church in the world, with an estimated 225–300 million adherents, most of whom live in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Russia.
    The Greek (Eastern) Orthodox Church. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Of America (1983). Retrieved on 7 May 2014.
    Christianity:Basics:Eastern Orthodox Church Denomination. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
    Christianity. Major Branches of Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 See Percentage of Christians in Protestant Denominations (29.5%).
  3. Wisdom 2:12-24 (Douay-Rheims) (the quote above is actually from the NABRE translation)

See also


The Old Testament Text. (

Wisdom of Solomon, Book of the (LXX. Σοφία Σολομῶνος; Vulgate, "Liber Sapientiæ") (

The Book of Wisdom: Introduction (

Septuagint Quotes in the New Testament

Refuting an Attack on the Deuterocanonicals. A Response to 11 ‘reasons’ that the Deuterocanonicals Should be Thrown Out of the Bible, By Matt1618. Introduction (

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Faith Examined, and The Apocrypha: "Reasons why the Apocrypha does NOT belong in the Bible!" (

CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: Reasons why the Apocrypha does not belong in the Bible, by Ryan Turner (

Reasoning From the Scriptures with Ron Rhodes Critique of Chapter 2, Does the Apocrypha Belong in the Bible?, by Matt1618

Greek and English Septuagint
Latin and English Vulgate
Kings James Apocrypha Online