IS IGNORANCE AN EXCUSE?

Mike Johnson

 Some people seem to think that if a person is ignorant about what the Bible teaches, God will not punish him.  However, a number of passages teach that ignorance is not an excuse (Hos. 4:6, Rom. 10:1-2).  In fact, the Bible even commands that we add “knowledge” (II Pet. 1:5), and it commands “growth” (II Pet. 3:18).

A person who might contend that ignorance is an excuse in religion should consider this question: “Why was the Great Commission given?”  The Great Commission tells us that we are to go and preach the gospel to “all the world” and “to every creature” (Mt. 28:18-20, Mk. 16:15-16).   Why do this if one is already saved even though ignorant of God’s will?  We would do better to let a person stay ignorant because if we teach such a person, we are taking a risk!  If the person rejects God’s message after hearing it, then he ceases to be ignorant and becomes lost.

Ignorance is certainly not an excuse for disobedience.  We all have an obligation to learn God’s Will, and then we must teach it to others (II Tim. 2:2).