The prophet Daniel spoke of the time of the end when, among other things, knowledge would be increased (compare Daniel 12:4). Yet, with all this knowledge available in our day, does it really help mankind to seize the truly important information for an abundant, purposeful life?
Paul preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God, which includes Jesus and the resurrection. To at least one group of people this knowledge represented “strange things.” The audience he addressed was in Athens, Greece, and it is important to understand an attitude held by these individuals: “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21).
They were hobbyists in knowledge. They accumulated knowledge, but their endeavors fell short of the ultimate truth that Paul was inspired to reveal to them. Part of the reason seems to be that they did not apply in their own lives what they had learned.
Another such individual was King Solomon. Note what he recorded of his own quest for knowledge in Ecclesiastes 1:13: “And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven.” The record of his life testifies that he was granted great wisdom from God. However, his story doesn’t develop very well–even with such an abundance of knowledge about “all that is done under heaven.” Solomon did not keep contact with God as he grew old, and he ended up setting his heart on purely physical knowledge, while drifting away from spiritual knowledge revealed to him by God. Only at the very end of his life was he able to explain: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all (or: the whole duty of man)” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Those of us who are Christians have access to unique knowledge. God reveals to us parts of what the Bible calls “hidden knowledge” or a “mystery.” The rest of the world doesn’t know what Christians get to know–in fact, Romans 11 explains that “blindness in part has happened…” (verse 25). Implicit in this is an issue of responsibility for the knowledge we have been given.
Jesus further explains this in Matthew 7:24-27. The critical point, as He explains, is that after we hear His sayings we must DO them. If we don’t do what He says and act on the knowledge we are given, we will fail!
James also shows that we must be “DOERS of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:22). He later has this to say about the serious consequence of not doing what we know we should: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Individually, we need to measure ourselves when it comes to the knowledge we have been given. Paul warned that in the last days perilous times will come. Of these times and those of us in them, he prophesied that some would be “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).
Real spiritual growth in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ comes about through obedience–that simply means we act on what we know. More knowledge without implementing what we already have been given will not cause one to grow in their Christianity. We can’t just become religious hobbyists seeking to either tell or to hear some new thing. Nor should we set ourselves, as Solomon did, to learn more and more without building upon spiritual knowledge through yielding to God’s will.
Without question, we are called upon to grow in knowledge of God’s Way, but as we do, it is important that we also be doers of all that is revealed and not hearers only. It is God Who opens up our understanding of His Word–this kind of increase is spoken of as spiritual knowledge.
As we increase in knowledge, consider this promise from Jesus: “‘If you ABIDE IN MY WORD, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall KNOW THE TRUTH, and the truth shall make you free'” (John 8:31-32).