The apostle to the Gentiles was swatting down those who touted knowledge as the great value of the Way, who said that what you know makes you important. The only thing that knowledge does, by itself, is to puff you up, or, as we say where I grew up (which is where I am now), give you the big head. It makes you conceited. It does nothing for your brother in Christ. Continue reading
We call little girls big girls and they are proud. I suspect calling big girls big girls would not elicit the same reaction. (I have not tried it personally and do not recommend attempting it, at the risk of one’s health and well-being.)
Words must be measured. The person to whom we address ourselves determines our approach. Continue reading
Proverbs 12:1: “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.” “Instruction” is discipline by truth, “knowledge” is acceptance of truth. A good student thirsts for “knowledge,” so Jesus Christ taught: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). There is no learning where there is no discipline. Children whose egos are fed more than their desire to be taught are “stupid” (i.e., “brutish,” like an animal, with unused human ingenuity). “Go from the presence of a foolish man, When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge” (Proverbs 14:7). “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). “I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You” (Psalm 73:22 NKJV)
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
In Romans 9, the apostle Paul deals with a problem that many Israelites, through the years, have surely thrown up to him concerning the ethics of God and the nation of Israel. Did not God promise Israel a land of inheritance? He did. If He did, why is it that God now is dealing differently with the nation? To this Paul addresses his words. He makes clear that in the writings of the prophets, God made distinction between the physical land and national promise to the collective people and those who God specifically chose through whom He would bring His messiah. Those who paid particular attention to His words would see this, but those who did not would begin to cry aloud that God is not fair. In part, this was the problem, and Paul said as much in this words: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (10:2; NKJV). APPLICATION: let us be sure we have a clear understanding of God’s standard of right as we seek to help others understand and make application themselves.
We enjoyed hearing Dr. Ben Carson, retired pediatric neurosurgeon, speak at the Faulkner Benefit Dinner Thursday evening in Montgomery. Procedures are being done today in pediatric neurosurgery that he created. Lives are being saved because of it.
Dr. Carson told quite a bit about his life, and how they didn’t have much. He said his mother worked two jobs, but she encouraged her children to read two books a week, and then write a book report on what they had read. She marked the reports with yellow markers and underlined things as she checked them. He said they didn’t learn until much later that she couldn’t read! She did learn to read later and went on to get her GED, and holds an honorary doctorate, and he proudly said, “She is Dr. Carson also.”
Near the end of his one hour speech, Dr. Carson encouraged us to read 30 minutes a day about something that would help us learn, something more than just for entertainment. With an acrostic, Dr. Carson spelled out his philosophy of living.
T – Talents/time: Recognize them as gifts.
H – Hope for all good things and be honest
I – Insight from people and good books
N – Be nice to all people.
K – Knowledge: Recognize it as the key to living.
B – Books: Read them actively.
I – In-depth learning skills: Develop them.
G – God: Never get too big for Him.
What if we set aside 30 minutes a day to read the Bible? How much spiritual growth would we increase in a year? What if in the church we started to “think big?” What if we used our talents; were honest in everything we do; if we invested our time in good things; if we were nice to others; if we tried to grow in knowledge? What if we were just ourselves, and didn’t pretend to be someone we are not? What if we made a concentrated effort to grow the church as the Lord would have us do? Soon our building couldn’t hold the people.
John Wesley stated it this way: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
I’ve met several Christians throughout the years who are exactly what I try to avoid being – too “smart” for their own good spiritually speaking! Their “Bible knowledge” is so complete they have no room for growth…and it’s a major turn-off to the majority of people around them without them even knowing it, or caring enough to realize it.
But can’t you know the truth, some may ask? You sure can according to John 8:32! But that knowledge, in its completed form, comes from continuing in the truth – it comes from growing in it (John 8:31; 2 Peter 3:18).
Does that mean we can never know the complete the truth about a particular topic from day one? Absolutely not. Just think about the nameless eunuch of Ethiopia (Acts 8:35-37). But at the same time remember the growth process that the apostle named Peter of Galilee had to experience concerning the possibility of salvation for gentile people years (literally years) after publicly preaching that the benefits of the gospel would reach “those who were afar off” (Acts 2:38-39; Acts 10).
My advice, which I strive to remember to follow myself, to anyone who gets asked a Bible-based question from someone who tells you that they’re not trying to be argumentative but simply asking a question that they’re curious about because of a statement or position that you’ve publicly proclaimed is for you to take the question seriously and try to recognize the validity of the point that the question is raising. Phew! Talk about a run-on sentence. But I suppose run-on’s are needed when you talk about a marathon length problem.
Concerning the sum of the situation, this one thing I have learned: when you are going to ask people to recognize their error you have to be able and willing to do the same with yourself! And the failure to do so reveals a lack of spiritual maturity that becomes obvious to everyone other than the person who stares back at us in the mirror. That’s why we’d all do well to be an Apollos-minded person, and not a Diotrephes.
“Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:24-26)