Knowledge… or Education?

Todd Shupe is the president of drtoddshupe.com and a Christian blogger at toddshupe.com. He currently serves as the president of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is training to become a men’s ministry specialist under the General Commission of United Methodist Men.




I think society tends to confuse knowledge with education. But a person can have extensive education and college degrees and not necessarily be very knowledgeable. Perhaps they were a poor student and just did the minimum to get by or maybe they have not kept current in their field over the years.

If I memorize chemical reactions, mathematical equations, and even scripture, then I have developed some knowledge on the subject, albeit somewhat superficial. A person who has understanding of a subject has mastered the topic and is on the path to wisdom.

Proverbs 2:1-6 gives us insight into knowledge. “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Everything we have is from God, and this includes our education, wisdom, and understanding. God wants us to “tune your ears to wisdom,” which means listen to those who know more than you do. “Concentrate on understanding” is an invitation to use your God-given brain to move beyond memorization or superficial knowledge and strive to understand. God is giving us advice on how to better understand Him. Then we can use this knowledge to live a Godly life and bring others to Him. Knowledge of God is essential for discipleship. How can you follow God if you have no understanding of Him?

The scripture above tells us that God’s mouth provides knowledge and understanding. God’s Word is available to us at all times in the Bible. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we learn that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

You may be familiar with the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. It encourages us to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Knowledge of God’s word is essential for us to be “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:17).

Knowledge of the Bible will provide you the wisdom to make proper decisions. We tend to make poor decisions when we are hungry or tired. We are told in Matthew 4:2 that Jesus had fasted 40 days after His baptism and was hungry. It was in this condition that the Spirit delivered Him to Satan. The first words that Jesus spoke to the enemy were, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus is showing great wisdom in the face of great temptation because He has a complete understanding of scripture.

Knowledge is a great thing. We should always be learning new things. All knowledge comes from God and if you have knowledge and understanding of the Bible, you will be prepared for all of life’s challenges and ready for good works. I encourage you to use your knowledge to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.