My apologies for taking so long to get to our second characteristic in spiritual growth â€“ knowledge. After virtue comes knowledge, the type of knowledge that we get from learning about God through His holy word. We are students of God.
â€œBut also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge…â€ (2 Peter 1:5)
In 2 Peter 1:2-3, Peter uses the word knowledge twice:
â€œGrace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…â€
However, Peter uses two different Greek words for knowledge. In verses 2-3 he uses epignosis, which means â€œunderstanding or full understanding, insight.â€ This is wisdom and discernment that comes through experience; it is more than head knowledge. To have this type of knowledge we must be well acquainted with the truth…aletheia truth.
The Greek for knowledge found in verses 5 and 6 is gnosis and it too means knowledge, but it is signifies the type of knowledge you can gain through study and you do gain discernment, but not as deep as epignosis. It may seem that I am splitting hairs but in Greek certain words are used to bring emphasis. In verses 2-3, Peter is clearly speaking of a fuller knowledge of God through Christ Jesus.
Nevertheless, knowledge and wisdom are to be pursued like a fine jewel. I know many a Christian who laments not having the ability to discern Godâ€™s Will. And while there are some Christians who have the spiritual gift of discernment, if we add knowledge to our virtue, we can receive great gain.
â€œMy son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk uprightly; he guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path.â€ (Proverbs 2:1-9)
It is indeed a good thing to be a man or woman of virtue. We need to live righteous lives of integrity. However, too many Christians come to this point and stop and remain on a spiritual diet of milk, never progressing to the meat of Godâ€™s Word. If you were to give yourself an honest grade for your Bible studies, what would you get? We should all be A students in that we diligently seek Godâ€™s Word for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Solomon promises there is great security in such a pursuit.
â€œHear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law. When I was my fatherâ€™s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: â€˜Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you.â€™â€ (Proverbs 4:1-6)
So why do some Christians diligently seek knowledge and others do not? It simply comes down to a heart issue; itâ€™s just not that important to you.
â€œThe heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.â€ (Proverbs 15:14)
Take it from someone who has filled his head with useless facts, if youâ€™re feeding on foolishness then youâ€™re going to speak like a fool. This is why there are so many unfulfilled believers and unbelievers, because they do not pursue knowledge. And we know that a vacuum must be filled and too often it is filled with sin.
â€œAlso it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet.â€ (Proverbs 19:2)
So if the Bible teaches it is not good for our souls to be without knowledge, then it must be bad. Perhaps weâ€™ve discovered the reason there is so much stinking thinking and false teaching within the church?
One last point about knowledge. You can always tell the value someone places in something by their willingness to spend their resources on it. The Bible even addresses that when it comes to knowledge.
â€œBuy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.â€ (Proverbs 23:23)
So Brother Dave, are you saying truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding are for sale?
Yes! How much are you willing to give for it?
Get that settled in your walk with Christ and watch your spiritual growth take off.
Who knows, self-control may actually be closer than you realize.
More on that next time.
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Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers