There are times when ignorance is no excuse … and it goes much further than our responsibility to know the speed limit of the road we are traveling on (Acts 17:30-31). So despite the fact it can be quite contrary to certain biblical principles, does the poetical idiomatic saying, “Ignorance is bliss” have any scriptural merit?
Believe it or not, thanks to Ecclesiastes 1:18, is actually does:
“For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” (NKJV)
If a person solely used stand alone verses in Ecclesiastes as their justification, they could pass off certain behaviors as being in harmony with the scriptural guidance and big picture God seeks to convey to humanity even though it teaches quite to the contrary; but such cannot be said about Ecclesiastes 1:18. Even within the context of Ecclesiastes 1:12-18, the plainly spoken singular principle of verse 18 stands true.
Going through life with our heads in the sand does not change reality, but there are times when learning about the agreements, the systems and the swamps of life, private issues and politics actually does more harm than good.
We cannot change all of life for the good! Knowing all about the burdensome things that we cannot change, no matter how badly we may want to, can drive us crazy if we are not careful. This thought is not calling for an ignorant practice of the admonition in Ephesians 5:8-14, but perhaps this thought is one small reason why Paul taught the church at Colossi to set their minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-4, and the church at Philippi to trust the peace delivered through God by focusing their thoughts on the good things of what can be known (Philippians 4:6-9).
“Ignorance is bliss” should never be a principle that justifies a lukewarm, uninterested or pacifistic attitude toward the truth of God or doing good, but nonetheless the saying is actually scriptural when it comes to the antithetical enlightenment and frustration of “knowing all about” the attitudes and behaviors of mankind that will not be changed in this life.
When it comes to gaining the unnecessary understanding we think we need, we should dig carefully because we may not like what we find in the dirt! And it doesn’t always take a Solomon to know that’s true.