“A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing”
A doctor in my hometown was fond of saying, “There is nothing more dangerous than a nurse- they know just enough to cause more problems than they can cure!” At least if that’s not the exact quote, it gets to heart of what he meant. With all due respect (and thanks!) to nurses everywhere for their skilled and tireless efforts on behalf of their patients, this doctor seemed to prescribe to the adage, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Though such is probably true in most vocations, it seems to be especially apropos with regard to our spiritual avocation as Christians...
God’s prophet Hosea was inspired to write of ancient Israel (about 750 years before Christ), “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” Hos.4:6a. This was the overall effect (destruction, which in this case was physical as well as spiritual) stemming from the cause of insufficient knowledge. But the Spirit wasn’t finished with this cause/effect comparison. Note the rest of Hos.4:6b, “Because you have rejected knowledge (cause), I also will reject you (effect). Since you have forgotten the law of your God (cause), I also will forget your children (effect).” This is scary stuff! God is rejecting and disowning (cf. Hos.1:9) His own people precisely because they failed to educate themselves concerning and remember His laws. To add further to this horrific scenario, God also says: 1) “I will no longer have compassion” on them, 1:6; and that, 2) He would “love them no more,” 9:15. And what was, again, the cause of these effects? The lack, rejection, and forgetting of His Laws!
From these examples (cf. 1Cor.10:1-13) do we see the importance of reading, knowing, and practicing “the gospel of the kingdom”? "No," we’re not under the Old Law of Moses as ancient Israel was, but we are amenable to Christ’s New Covenant, “the perfect law of liberty” (Matt.4:23; Jas.1:25). And what warning comes with this NT law? That eternal retribution and destruction will be dealt to those who: 1) “do not know God” and 2) “and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus,” 2Thess.1:8-9! Sound familiar? While the “law” of God changed from that given through Moses for the Jews to that given through Christ for everyone, the effects of being rejected, disowned, forgotten, and removed from God’s love and compassion are stilled caused by being ignorant of, rejecting, and/or forgetting God’s law!
Do you NOW understand why Elders, Preachers, and Bible Teachers are constantly stressing that we read and study God’s Word? Do you NOW see how important it is to be not just present for but engaged listeners to sermons? Do you NOW comprehend how beneficial it is to attend and be active participants in every bible class you can? Do you NOW realize how critical it is to give serious “diligence” to your knowledge and application of “the word of truth” (2Tim.2:15)?
In some ways, 2Peter echoes the warnings and admonitions of Hosea regarding the importance of spiritual knowledge derived from God’s Word. Please note a few examples:
- “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,” 2Pet.1:2;
- “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence,” 2Pet.1:3;
- “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,” 2Pet.1:5;
- “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2Pet.1:8;
- “But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures be destroyed,” 2Pet.2:12;
- “For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first,” 2Pet.2:20; and,
- “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” 2Pet.3:18.
To be ignorant of God’s word/will is dangerous, because God no longer “overlooks” such, Acts 17:30-31; but to be willfully ignorant is, as has been hopefully adequately demonstrated above, devastatingly destructive. “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is,” Eph.5:17. Don’t be the spiritual equivalent of those nurses that doctor described- having just enough knowledge of God to be dangerous to yourself and others! Drink copiously, consistently, and contentedly from the “fount of knowledge” God so graciously supplies!