In an experience-driven culture, the acquisition of knowledge often seems superfluous. What one can taste, see, feel, and hear usually carries more weight than the conceptual. However, God’s Word continually champions the need for believers to acquire truth. The Christian journey is seen as an unending pursuit of knowledge about God (John 17:17). Because of this, Satan has attempted to blind people from seeing the Lord’s truth (2 Corinthians 4:4 and 10:4-5). Since the Garden of Eden, he has been calling us to doubt what God has said (Genesis 3:1). We must be on guard against the post-modern spirit which acts as if there is no absolute truth, as if learning about God is a useless exercise in futility. Consider four reasons why it is important to seek after spiritual knowledge.
Knowledge has many harmful counterfeits.
In the world in which we live, there are many who are spreading false facts about God. An extreme example of this can be seen in militant Muslims who depict God as a tyrant who wants all infidels to be executed. Softer versions exist within evangelical circles. Lies that one must earn God’s love through good works, deceptions concerning the exercise of spiritual gifts, and untruths concerning the path to spiritual maturity plague the spiritual progress of many believers. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he encouraged him to be on guard against spiritual nonsense (1 Timothy 6:20). If we want to spot the half-truths which leave people in spiritual bondage, we must chase after the true knowledge of God.
A lack of knowledge leads to spiritual ruin.
When Judah went into captivity, the prophets blamed the catastrophe on one root cause — a lack of knowledge (Isaiah 5:13 and Hosea 4:6). It’s no wonder that God, through Moses, warned the people years in advance of their need to remember (Deuteronomy 8:18-20). Principles from the Old Testament hold true to this day. If we don’t ground ourselves in the truth of God, we are likely to depart from the ways of God.
Knowledge is a key to spiritual transformation.
I don’t see how some believers get along without systematic Bible reading and study. If one isn’t consuming God’s truth on a regular basis, one likely isn’t growing in his or her walk. The Bible teaches that we become more like Jesus through a transformation of our hearts. However, for our heart to be changed, our mind must be engaged. The pathway of spiritual transformation flows through our heads to our hearts. For this reason, knowledge is a key to spiritual transformation (2 Peter 1:5-6; 2 Peter 3:18; and Romans 12:1-2).
Knowledge is a key to spiritual joy.
On one occasion, after teaching His disciples, Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). The apostle John, the one who recorded those words, once told his readers: “We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4). An understating of God’s truth results in joy from God’s truth. When one understands God, self, and the nature of life according to the precepts of the Bible, he or she is positioned to find real joy and contentment in life.
Dr. Patrick Latham