Ray Comfort in his book, Hell’s Best Kept Secret, relates a tragic story about a woman who was once walking along a riverbank with her child.
Suddenly the child slipped into the river. The mother screamed in terror. She couldn’t swim, and besides, she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Finally, somebody heard her screaming and rushed down to the riverbank.
The utter tragedy was, when they stepped into those murky waters to retrieve that now dead child, they found that the water was only waist deep! That mother could have easily saved her child but didn’t because of a lack of knowledge.
As heartbreaking as that story is, how much more tragic is it to see those drowning in sin when a knowledge of God’s life-saving Truth is within their grasp.
Our word of the week, Knowledge, is found 164 times in the Bible. God places a great deal of emphasis on acquiring knowledge. The right kind of knowledge.
Some knowledge holds very little value, except in a game of Trivial Pursuit. While the right kind of knowledge can mean the difference between life and death. Success and failure. Rewarding relationships and ruptured relationships. It can also hold the key to salvation. Spiritual growth. Pleasing God. And one’s eternal reward.
Solomon began Proverbs, a book of wise counsel by saying, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7) It was his purpose to provide the young man “knowledge and discretion.”
The Old Testament prophets continually called upon Israel to return to a knowledge of God and His Word. Sadly, they rebelled and spurned their pleadings. So the prophet Hosea recorded Jehovah’s lament, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you” (Hos 4:6)
The Bible says the Gentile word sunk into moral degradation and depravity because they did not “retain God in their knowledge” (Rom. 1:28). Paul also described the plight of Israel in his day as having a “zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.”
Their problem was similar to many well meaning religious folks today. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:1-3)
True knowledge that provides a full and satisfying life and a peaceful calm of the soul begins and ends with God. Thankfully, it is revealed, recorded and retained in the book we call the Bible. This fact prompted Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th President, to opine, “A thorough understanding of the Bible is better than a college education.”
One of the Christian graces Peter said that we need to add to our faith and goodness is knowledge (2 Pet. 1:5). Barclay says this particular word for knowledge (gnosis) means “a practical knowledge.” It is a knowledge that “enables a man to decide rightly and to act honorably and efficiently in the day to day circumstances of life.”
Chuck Swindoll, in a college chapel talk, gave six reasons why the pursuit of Bible knowledge is important.
1. Knowledge gives substance to faith.
2. Knowledge stabilizes us during times of testing.
3. Knowledge enables us to handle the Word of God accurately.
4. Knowledge equips us to detect and confront error.
5. Knowledge makes us confident and consistent in our walk with God.
6. Knowledge filters out our fears and superstitions.
Knowledge is not automatic once you become a Christian. It requires commitment. It takes work. It demands self discipline. Knowledge is acquired when we have a passionate desire to know God, have a relationship with Jesus and understand the Holy Spirit’s revealed and divine counsel.
May you “be filled with the knowledge of His will…walk worthy of the Lord….be fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:9-10).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman