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The Difference Between Wisdom and Intelligence

There are many wise and intelligent people on the planet and we have for many years asked the same old questions. Do you need to be intelligent to call yourself wise? Can you be wise without intelligence? What is the difference between intelligence and wisdom?


Wisdom is about applying knowledge, information, data, and experience wisely. A wise person can see the distinction between right and wrong, bad and good. Your thoughts, decisions, and actions are based on how wise you are. You can’t learn wisdom through books or in school.

We often speak of children as intelligent rather than wise, and of the elderly as wise than intelligent. Maybe you have come across the saying, “a wise man once told…”, which is commonly used when describing events and stories of people that have lived through a lifetime and has gained a lot of experience. But wisdom does not come with age, and a child can be just as wise as the man across the street.


Intelligence is the ability to plan or create ideas, solve problems, be logical in their own creativity and find a way to make favorable results in bad situations. The term “intelligence” is often associated with the mind and the ability to use the brain. People that have a high intelligence level can store a large amount of information in the human brain without getting overwhelmed. Intelligence is like finger prints and is not something you can borrow. Intelligent people are excellent problem solvers. They can go into the depth of any situation and come with intelligent solutions.

Today, there are shared opinions around this question. Some believe that you need to be intelligent to have wisdom, while other believe that you can be intelligent and still lack wisdom.

Whatever way you turn around these terms, they have some key differences that give you an idea of why they don’t necessarily need each other.

Key Differences:

  • Intelligence can be learned via books and experiences while wisdom is God gifted.
  • Intelligence is understanding and knowing information from others while wisdom is about finding the answers in yourself.
  • Wisdom is based on theoretical knowledge while intelligence is a practical knowledge.
  • Intelligence has limits and wisdom is limitless.
  • Intelligence can be used in the negative and positive sense, while wisdom always has positive effects.
  • Intelligence is the next stage of knowledge while wisdom is the final stage.


These two qualities do indeed sound very like each other and you might think they are somehow related. The conclusion is that you can be intelligent without wisdom and you can become wiser without intelligence. The main difference between wisdom and intelligence is that wisdom cannot be taught, while intelligence is gained when something is taught.

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