PRYOR, OK —
Someone has aptly said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” People are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a good education, because they know it will pay in the long run. But if it is important to get a good education in order to enhance fifty or sixty years of life, how much more important it is to obtain knowledge that will help us prepare for eternity.
In Romans 10:1-3, Paul wrote, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” Have you ever carefully considered these verses?
Paul was extremely concerned for these people. They were very religious, and they were very energetic in trying to serve God. The problem was that they lacked knowledge of God’s Word. They were doing what they thought God wanted them to do, but they did not understand what God wanted them to do. They lacked knowledge.
The word Paul used for knowledge referred to an exact or full knowledge. Sure they knew some things about God. But they had not put forth the time and effort to study God’s word. They simply accepted what they had heard about God.
By looking at other passages where this same word for knowledge is used, we can better understand the importance of having that knowledge. In 2 Peter 1:2, Paul tells Christians that grace and peace are multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus. And in the next verse, he says that everything we need to know about life and godliness comes through a knowledge of His word. Thus we see the importance of Bible study.
In Colossians 1:9-10, Paul said that he prayed for the Christians there that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Through that knowledge they could live worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, and being fruitful in every good work.
The more a person studies and learns about God, the better that person will be able to please God. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than man’s thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), so just because I like something does not mean that God will like it. Jesus requires His followers to deny themselves and follow after Him.
Man does not have the ability to direct his own steps in religious matters (Jeremiah 10:23). When people obey the commandments of men instead of the commandments of God, their religion is in vain (Matthew 15:9). Those who seek to please men cannot be servants of God (Galatians 1:10).
Sadly, there are many people today who have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Like those Paul wrote about in Romans 10, they cannot be saved without submitting to the righteousness of God. Paul tells us in I Timothy 2:4 that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. The truth is God’s word (John 17:17). And Jesus said in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
When Paul preached in Berea, the people readily received the word, but they also searched the Scriptures daily to make sure what they heard was the word of God (Acts 17:11). It is vital that we study the Bible to find out what God wants us to do to be saved. After all, how can we do God’s will, if we don’t know what His will is?