July 30, 2021 Brethren Letter
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Two weeks ago, I gave part one of my sermon entitled, “Understanding Begets Wisdom.” Tomorrow, I plan on giving part two of that sermon.
Many years ago, a local elder in the Worldwide Church of God, gave a sermonette on the same basic subject as my sermon. I remember him talking about the biblical scholar, James Strong. James Strong published his well-known book, “The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible” in 1890, while he was a professor at Drew Theological Seminary, teaching exegetical theology.
Strong’s Concordance includes 8,674 Hebrew root words in the Old Testament of the Bible, and 5,624 Greek root words in the New Testament. Certainly, James Strong had a lot of knowledge. Perhaps he could have quoted a number of scriptures right off the top of his head telling everyone what various Hebrew and Greek words meant. However, as the local elder pointed out in his sermonette, James Strong had MUCH knowledge, but one thing he didn’t have was GOD’S UNDERSTANDING. “No one can come to Me [Christ] unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) Most likely, God did not call James Strong during his life, but will have an opportunity to understand God’s plan at the time of his resurrection.
One can have all kinds of biblical “knowledge”, but still not have true DEPTH of UNDERSTANDING. Real understanding comes only from God through His Holy Spirit. Christ told His disciples the following…
11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given [Christ’s disciples] to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, [the masses] all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand…. (Mark 4:11-12).
The Apostle Paul also stated…
6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: [complete] yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-11)
Having knowledge of the scriptures is not the same as having TRUE understanding of them. Mr. Armstrong wrote the following in the Plain Truth magazine October 20, 1982, concerning this same subject…
God gives his Holy Spirit to them that OBEY him (Acts 5:32). The Bible cannot be understood except through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the instrument of God by which one deciphers God’s secret code, the Bible.
None of the great minds — the most highly educated — the leaders — even the religious leaders — can understand it (I Cor. 2:8-9), but, verse 10, God reveals spiritual truths of the Bible BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT, given only to those who DO keep his Commandments!
Knowledge is wonderful to have as long as it is accompanied with real understanding. Understanding (in-turn), leads to GODLY wisdom. We could say in essence that UNDERSTANDING is the “bridge” between KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM.
1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; Proverbs 2:1-7
Please have a good night’s rest, brethren!
Your brother in Christ,