For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
-proverbs 2:10 (NLT)
yesterday in church we continued our sermon series on getting back to the "school of faith," and we focused on the concept of knowledge. quite simply, if we don't keep studying the Bible and asking questions about our faith, we can't very well learn anything. and if we don't learn and grow, change becomes nearly impossible, unless crisis and catastrophe make change for us.
one of the things we talked about was how diligent we can be when it comes to making sure we are up to date and knowledgeable about many things in our lives. for example, when i was shopping for a new tv, i learned all the lingo, made sure i was well-versed in all the technologies and the pros and cons of all of them. i studied the basics to gain an understanding so i could change my situation (no tv - ours was broken). or, imagine this scenario: what if you received a bill from your phone company stating that your signed contract allowed them to begin to charge you 25-times the normal amount? how would you respond? if you're like me, you would call the company, read the original agreement, study the details, underline the appropriate parts, put question marks by what you don't understand, call the better business bureau, and talk to some other consumers, among other things. in other words, you would gain as much knowledge as you could so that you could work towards changing your situation. you probably wouldn't say to yourself, "you know, i don't really need to do anything here, because i already know everything i need to know about phone companies and contracts and i am just going to rely on what i once learned."
and yet that is how many of us handle our Christian education. rather than learn anything new, many of us have chosen to rely on what we learned on flannelboard stories back in 2nd grade. or, more likely, we are content with some combination of what we remember from those childhood stories mixed with what we have "learned" from the loudest voices in our culture, a mixture of the political loudmouths, the best-selling novels (think "davinci code," where many people "learned" about the formation of the Biblical canon, and so on), and popular preachers (who are too often a bit preoccupied with sustaining a "successful ministry" to really teach us anything beyond what scratches our itchy ears). we have the equivalent of a fourth grade education. and, to just make it even more ridiculous, many of us with that fourth grade Christian education, use it as a weapon to go out and argue with other Christians or non-believers, looking up Bible verses on the internet (type "what does the Bible say about..." in google and you will be overwhelmed) to try and support what we think we know just so we can be right. (by the way, the Bible never says, "be right, as i am right." instead, it says, "be holy, as i am holy." which is quite different, i think.).
anyway, the challenge is to keep learning...keep growing. to never stop asking questions. we must continue our education. and while that can certainly be done on our own with an open Bible, a study guide and a commentary or three or four, i believe it is more effective when we do it with a group of people, who can keep us accountable, and help us ask some questions and see some answers that we would have never realized on our own.
and so, this is a challenge: join a Bible study or a sunday school class. find a group of people who are studying the Bible and who are willing to ask some questions about what they read there. start to gain some new knowledge, and you will find that, like proverbs says, it will give you joy.