Facts, information and skills acquired through education or experience, (both theoretical and practical, spiritual and secular) form our knowledge base to assist us walk confidently through life, so we won’t stumble blindly in ignorance and darkness (1 Jn 1:6). Knowledge is potential power and gives the advantage if used correctly with understanding and wisdom, while ignorance can be costly, yet we do not need to analyse and understand everything to enjoy its benefits. Without wisdom and humility human knowledge can lead to presumption, pride and emptiness, causing people to live independently of God and embrace false, ungodly beliefs such as New Age thinking (Rom 3:18; 1 Cor 8:1,2, 13:2; 1 Tim 6:20). In contrast “The fear of the Lord [honouring, having reverence for and obedience to God] is the beginning of [beneficial godly] knowledge” (Prov 1:7).
In the Garden of Eden, fruit from the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ was not to be eaten, however Adam and Eve did eat it, and from then on the human conscience became enlightened, knowing right from wrong (Gen 2:16,17, 3:4-7). Although we intuitively know what is acceptable conduct towards God and others, what we actually do falls far short of that standard. King Solomon who had great wisdom and insight, made some bad choices in later life, for although he knew the theory he did not ‘live it’ (1 Kgs 4:29-34, 11:1-13; Neh 13:26). The ongoing application of knowledge and wisdom ensures good decisions are consistently made.
Do I just have head knowledge or a heart relationship too?
isn’t a guarantee of salvation, for even the devils believe yet are not saved (Mt 7:21-23; Mk 3:11; Jas 2:19). Paul’s prayer was that his readers would “know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe” and “the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge”, with his own relationship with Christ of highest priority (Eph 1:18,19, 3:18,19; Phil 3:8). We need to comprehend what we have inherited in Christ so we can enter into it.
Just as in our world ignorance holds countless people in poverty and bondage, so a lack of spiritual knowledge entraps numerous believers who are unaware of the ‘riches’ available in Christ. The Israelites would go into exile because of their lack of knowledge and concern to live as God desired, with the Bible stating, “My people are destroyed by a lack of knowledge” and unfortunately, this is still true (Isa 5:13; Hos 4:6). We must know the ways of God before we can walk in them, although within the human conscience He has put a basic awareness of His values (Mic 4:2; Rom 1:18,19,32).
Knowledge won’t get people to heaven – relationship with Jesus will
academic but life changing when applied (Jn 8:32,36). Jesus warned the religious leaders that it was only by faith in Him that eternal life was found, not in the study and obeying of the Scriptures alone (Jn 5:39).
As we put our knowledge into practice, we move from being a passive spectator to an active player in the arena of life, coupling our enthusiasm with knowledge (Prov 19:2). Experience is also a great teacher. Peter has a lot to say about this topic: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him...add to your faith...knowledge...these qualities will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord...” (2 Pet 1:2,3,5-8, 3:18). Humbly growing our experience with Christ will keep us from falling, or being carried away by error as ignorant and unstable people distort the truth (2 Pet 1:10, 3:17). Shouldn’t these verses inspire us to ravenously devour the Word of God, spending time in intimate fellowship with the divine author so our minds are transformed? It is not just what we know but Who that is important. Study so that you can experience more of the true Jesus, who is the liberating truth, not just to acquire a head knowledge of theology.
The discerning person continually seeks to understand His ways more and fulfill their calling by walking in increased righteousness, with His life energizing them as they are transformed more into His likeness (Prov 15:14; 2 Cor 3:17,18). We can’t obey if don’t know what we should be doing, or as Jesus put it, “My sheep listen to my voice…and they follow me” and “Now that you know, you’ll be blessed if you do [as I say]” (Jn 10:27, 13:17). Hearing or being aware of the truth must be backed up with appropriate action, “doing what it says”, to be of any value, for information doesn’t make you successful, but the application of the knowledge will (Mt 7:24-27; Jas 1:22-25). Understanding we have been given authority to demonstrate the Kingdom of God in the world will flow, from our intimacy with God, into service to others (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-18). The man healed of blindness did not know all the facts but was certain of one thing, stating, “I was blind but now I see” (Jn 9:25). We too can boldly declare what Jesus has done for us even though we don’t know all the answers.
What you do with what you know is the crucial issue to achieve and bless people. Before the end of this present age of grace all “the earth will be full of the knowledge of God” and His gospel, for He wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (Isa 11:9; Mt 24:14; 1 Tim 2:4). As ‘custodians’ of the gospel we believers have not spread the knowledge of God and saving truth to the needy souls with the urgency and passion we should have; we have failed to comprehend the fate of those who die without Christ. After we come to the knowledge of God’s will (by connecting with Jesus through prayer and Bible study), our responsibility is then to ‘do it’ or else we sin (Jn 13:17; Eph 5:17; Col 1:9,10, 2:2,3; Jas 4:17). We can hide nothing from God who knows those who are truly born-again – for He knows all things including even our thoughts (2 Tim 2:19; Heb 4:12).
The gift of the Word of Knowledge is one of the spiritual resources given to some Christians, enabling them to know and explain things without any prior knowledge of them, along with the ability to give advice and counsel (1 Cor 12:8-11). It is wise to ‘test’ such advice by seeking its confirmation through a third party.
See also: academic, application, being and doing, conscience, education, facts, Gnosticism, ignorance, information, learning, presumption, spiritual gifts, study, teaching, tree of knowledge, truth, understanding, wisdom/wise.