What is the Wisdom of Solomon?Question: "What is the Wisdom of Solomon?"
Answer: The Wisdom of Solomon, also called the Book of Wisdom, is one of the books of the Apocrypha. Others in the group include 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. Most of the books of the Apocrypha are accepted by the Roman Catholic Church and are included in Catholic Bibles. The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books teach many things that are not true and are not historically accurate. The Roman Catholic Church officially added the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals to their Bible at the Council of Trent in the mid-1500s AD, primarily in response to the Protestant Reformation. None of the apocryphal books are included in the canon of Scripture.
The Wisdom of Solomon was believed by some to have been written by King Solomon, although his name appears nowhere in the text. However, the early church rejected the authorship of Solomon; an ancient manuscript known as the Muratorian fragment refers to the Wisdom of Solomon as having been written by “the friends of Solomon in his honor.” It is widely accepted today, even by the Catholic Church, that Solomon did not write the book, which dates back to the 1st or 2nd century BC, many centuries after the death of Solomon.
While Solomon wrote much on the subject of wisdom in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, he never elevated it to the status of part of the Godhead, a philosophy found in The Wisdom of Solomon. The book refers to Wisdom in terms the Bible reserves for the Messiah, saying, “She [wisdom] is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (Wisdom 7:26). The book of Hebrews reserves such accolades for the Son of God, who “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). Even more egregious, Wisdom 9:18 says that salvation is an act of wisdom, whereas Scripture is clear that salvation is by faith, a gift of God to those whom He calls, justifies, and sanctifies (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 8:30). In fact, if man were to depend upon his “wisdom” for salvation, we would be lost forever with no hope because the unredeemed are dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1–4) and their minds are darkened (Ephesians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14) and their heart deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
The apocryphal books are accepted by the Roman Catholic Church because many of the books teach Catholic doctrines that are not in agreement with the Bible, including praying for the dead, petitioning Mary to intercede with the Father, worshiping angels, and alms-giving as atonement for sins. Some of what the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals say is true and correct. However, due to the historical and theological errors, the books, including The Wisdom of Solomon, must be viewed as fallible historical and religious documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God.
Recommended Resource: The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce
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Questions about the Bible
What is the Wisdom of Solomon?