Wisdom is hard to define. It's not just knowledge or "smartability", but it's something more. The dictionary defines a knowledgable person as "one who knows a lot about something". But wisdom is said to be "one of four back teeth which grow when you are an adult" and "intelligence/common sense".
Now, wisdom is a lot different from being a wise guy, a "person who pretends to know more than anyone else". Bragging, being a know-it-all, or pretending to be wise really isn't wise at all. In Ecclesiastes, the writer totally denies earthly wisdom as amounting to anything. In fact, he curses it. Only wisdom from God lasts, and only He can give real wisdom.
Read James 3:13 with me.
"Are there those among you who are truly wise and understanding? Then they should show it by living right and doing good things with a gentleness that comes from wisdom."
Whoa, hold up. I have to prove that I'm wise by living right and doing good things? And believe me, God, my wisdom isn't always gentle. So now what do I do?
"But if you are selfish and have bitter jealousy in your hearts, do not brag. Your bragging is a lie that hides the truth. That kind of 'wisdom' does not come from God but from the world. It is not spiritual; it is from the devil." (v14-15)
Wait, I thought wisdom was truth, not lies! You're right, wisdom is made up of things that are true. That's what real wisdom is! Truth! The living Truth! Wisdom isn't being smarter than everyone else, and it isn't acing your grades or even knowing the Table of Elements or whatever those funky science ABCs are.
Some scientists are so wrapped up in finding the "truth" that they've lost sight of it all together. It's standing right before them, but they refuse to look in the right direction. Jesus is truth; God is truth. God invented truth and wisdom, therefore he is the source of all wisdom and the source of all truth. We can't fool ourselves into thinking we are so wise, because the only true wisdom we have comes from our Father.
"Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil." (v16)
Read that again, out loud. It's a super important verse.
Do you see what I'm getting at? When we search for wisdom and truth apart from God, in order to bring glory to ourselves, "there will be confusion and every kind of evil". Whatever we find out on our own is false and dangerous. We can't be wise if we are confused. So if we do anything to prove ourselves better than God or prove we don't need Him, we fail miserably, and the whole world is watching.
So how can we get real wisdom without getting into trouble?
"But the wisdom that comes from God is first of all pure, then peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help those who are troubled and to do good for others. It is always fair and honest. People who work for peace in a peaceful way plant a good crop of right-living." (v17-18)