Vol. 11 No. 3 March 2009
“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold” (Proverbs 8:10), only “fools hate knowledge” (Proverbs 1:22); however, “Wise men lay up knowledge” (Proverbs 10:14). These verses, among many others, exemplify the fact that God desires knowledge to play a vital role in the lives of His children. We must be “Filled with all knowledge (Romans 15:14; Colossians 1:9), “Abound in knowledge” (2 Corinthians 8:7), “Grow in knowledge” (2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:10). Knowledge is a Christian grace (2 Peter 1:5-11). God desired from Israel “knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).
Ignorance Is Cheap (Free, Without Premium)
When it comes to a proper knowledge of God’s Word, there is indeed “a famine in the Land” (Amos 8:11). It is said that 80% of the average congregation cannot give the plan of salvation if they must give Book, Chapter and Verse. In 1962, the Harding College Bible Department began testing Bible knowledge. There were 150 items on the test, and 91% of those tested were members of the church. Members of the church fell 8 to 9 points behind the denominational freshmen. Some of the results: 33% did not know that Jonah was a prophet on a ship bound for Tarshish, and that he preached in Nineveh. 17% did not know that Romans was the 6th book of N.T. 31% did not know that Jude follows 3 John. 55% did not know who wrote 2 Timothy. 45% did not know who wrote Revelation. 21% did not know that Isaiah wrote Isaiah. 56% did not know that Luke wrote Acts. 20% did not know that Lydia sold purple. 92% did not know that Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus on the new birth is found in John. Let us read Hosea 4:6 and tremble!
The high cost of a free item: Ignorance was one of the sins that crucified Jesus (Acts 3:17; Luke 23:34; 1 Corinthians 2:8). Ignorance alienates one from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18). Ignorance leads people to twist the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). Ignorance causes people to be destroyed (Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 5:13). Ignorance will keep one from being converted (Matthew 13:15). Ignorance will cause people to be ultimately lost (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Acts 17:30-31).
The Truth Is Expensive (Valuable)
“Buy the truth and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23). Buy equals to own, possess, obtain, get or purchase. In regard to truth, it means to find, believe and obey that which is certain, trustworthy, right and sure. Sell equals to surrender or sell, as in exchanging truth for something one considers to be of greater value (compromise). God wants us to be informed, knowledgeable people: “I would not have you to be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 10:1; 12:1). God “will have all men to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus wants us to learn of Him (Matthew 11:29). Paul Harvey reported that Bible reading is illegal in Illinois schools. Bibles are distributed free in Illinois prisons.
Some blessings of knowledge: Knowledge of the truth makes one free (John 8:32; 17:17). Men come to the Father through knowledge (John 6:44-45). We escape the pollutions of the world through knowledge (2 Peter 2:20).
Selling Ignorance and Buying Knowledge
What can the individual do? (1) Fall in love with Jesus. A young lady read a book and considered it very dull. Not long after, she met the author and fell in love with him. She read the book again, and commented that it was the most interesting book she had ever read. (2) Face the fact that our knowledge of God’s Word is deficient. “And if any man think that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2). One has said, “Consciousness of ignorance is no small part of knowledge.”(3) Possess an unquenchable desire for knowledge (1 Peter 2:2; Matthew 5:6; 2 Kings 6:25-29). A young man once asked Socrates what he must do to become a learned man. Socrates took him to a stream and plunged his head under water. After some difficulty the man was able come out gasping for air. Socrates asked, “When you were under water what did you want more than anything, ‘Air.’” When you want knowledge as badly, you will become a learned man. (4) Read the Bible daily (Revelation 1:3). The president of the American Bible Society received a letter asking for a recommendation for keeping the leather on the back of his Bible from getting stiff, cracking and peeling. The president replied, “There is one oil that is especially good for the treatment of your Bible. It is not sold, but may be found in the palm of the human hand. When is the last time you oiled your Bible? President Garfield made it a practice to read his Bible at least one hour a day. If the president of this great nation can find time to do it, so can we. (5) Study (2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11-12). Charles Spurgeon once saw a Bible that had been eaten through from cover to cover and he prayed, “Help me to be a bookworm like that.”
What can the church do? (1) We can provide the very best educational program possible: VBS, Sun. a.m., Midweek, various training classes, Gospel meetings, etc. (2) We can provide the very best teachers possible. Teachers who are able to teach God’s Word and live it. (3) We can provide the very best curriculum possible. Lessons that are adaptable to the learning level and needs of each child.
What to Do with Our Knowledge?
We must share it (2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:2; John 1:40-42), apply it (James 1:22; Matthew 7:24-29). It is not enough to know. A stack of books was once found termite-ridden. The title of one of the books was, “The Control of Termites.” The knowledge that had been acquired and put into the book had never been applied. May God hasten the day when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). (Much of this material was gleaned from Wendell Winkler, Samson’s Sins and Other Sermons).