“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein
“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A cartoon I saw recently showed a youngster telling his parents “Great news, Dad and Mom – My intelligence test came back negative!” Intelligence testing is a huge industry today, and many different types of test have been developed. You can find dozens of IQ tests online which will measure verbal, mathematical or other forms of raw intelligence. But, as may be seen by the quotes above, some of the most intelligent minds have realized that unapplied intelligence is worth little, and that intelligence without action can be meaningless.
There are a couple of verses in the Book of Jeremiah which relate directly to this: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom … but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight says the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 KJV).
How do these verses apply? The interesting thing, in terms of this topic, is that these verses constitute a very real intelligence test. Notice the admonition in verse 24: “ … but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands…” Here, the word “understands” is translated from the Hebrew eshkl to “use intelligence”. The New International Version gets a little closer to this meaning: “… that they have the understanding to know me ...” (vs. 24 NIV, emphasis added), but we can go one step closer to the literal meaning by saying: “... that he uses intelligence to know me ...”. Therein lies the test. How effectively do we use the intelligence we were given?
If we think about the words of Einstein and other thinkers regarding using intelligence to change and act intelligently, we see that the smartest intelligence test is perhaps not the one you may find online or purchase from some testing organization, but the test that comes to us courtesy of the Book of Jeremiah. It’s not just asking if we “know the Lord”, however. Our score is based on how well we really come to know the character and traits of the One who exercises lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness.