Today in our VBS at Wellandport as we pursue the theme “Facing Life With Faith,” we are discussing how knowledge and faith are connected.
The Bible says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). As we read and study God’s Word, we increase in knowledge, but that knowledge grows our faith. Of course, our knowledge of God and His revealed will is more than just an accumulation of facts. It is faith-driven. Heart-felt. And relationally focused. Thus, Paul was able to affirm, “I know in whom I have believed.”
The word “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). No wonder their faith faltered.
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