The moon was a thin crescent in the Canadian skies on the night that the astronauts neared it for the first landing on the surface. A farmer in Nova Scotia could not get over the unnecessary risks that the astronauts were running and said, “You’d think they’d at least wait until it was bigger than that.”
A man bought his wife (who happened to be blond) a cell phone. He showed her how it worked explaining such things as how to make a call, how to use the built-in directory, and how to charge the battery. She seemed to understand his instructions. A few days later he placed a call to her on the cell phone, and in the course of the conversation asked her how she liked her phone. She told him that she liked it just fine, but then she asked, to his amazement, “How did you know I was in Wal-Mart?”
The above two stories illustrate ignorance, but, in reality, we are all ignorant in certain ways. A person might be very knowledgeable about computers but have no idea about how to repair a car. Another person might be an expert carpenter, but when it comes to doing his taxes, he wouldn’t know where to begin. We may be ignorant about many things, but we must not be ignorant about the Word of God. Ignorance about God’s Word will cause us to be lost eternally.
Consider the Jews of the Old Testament. They had prophets, priests, and teachers of the law, and even their feasts were designed to teach important lessons. Concerning the Passover they were told, “And it shall come to pass when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifices of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped” (Ex. 12:25-27). God’s Law was to be taught “diligently” to their children (Deut. 6:6-9), yet as time went on the people quit teaching and learning God’s Law. In fact, they had become so indifferent that eventually the “book of the law” was lost and was not discovered until the reign of King Josiah (II Kg. 22:8-13). Actually, the Jews were frequently reprimanded for their ignorance of God’s Law. Hosea 4:6 speaks of consequences of this ignorance as it says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. . . .”
Paul himself expressed his “heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel . . . that they might be saved” and then said, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:1-2). His own people, the Jews, during the time of the early church, had the admirable quality of zeal, but, sadly were lacking in knowledge. There are many people today in denominations who have a lot of religious zeal or fervor. These people, lacking in knowledge, are unable to properly obey God as they do not know and understand the truth. Zeal is fine, but it must be accompanied by knowledge. Although zealous, the Jews, whom Paul prayed for, were lost!
It is also common today for members of the Lord’s church to be lacking in the knowledge of God’s Word. These have not done the things necessary to obtain knowledge by studying God’s Word as they should, by attending every service of the local church where they are members, by attending area Gospel Meetings, and they have little interest in discussing the Bible with knowledgeable Christians. Hebrews 5:12-14, speaks of certain ones who should have advanced to spiritual maturity and even should have become teachers. Instead, the writer pointed out to them, “ . . . ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (V. 12). These people, like many today, had not only failed to progress — they had digressed! They needed to be taught again the elementary principles of God’s Word.
What happens when there is ignorance of God’s Word? First, a lack of spiritual growth will occur. Spiritual growth is not optional but is, in fact, commanded in God’s Word. II Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .” We must learn God’s Will, and we cannot please Him unless we grow spiritually. Next, a lack of Bible knowledge will result in sin. What we don’t know will hurt us when it comes to Bible knowledge; ignorance is not bliss. It is important that we study God’s Word so that we can know what sin is and also be encouraged to do right.
Finally, ignorance can result in the spreading of false teaching. In Matthew 7:15-16a, Jesus taught, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. . . .” False teachers do not wear signs. It takes a certain amount of knowledge from God’s Word to “try the Spirits” (I Jn. 4:1), and a failure to study God’s Word by individual members, and a steady diet of listening to soft “feel-good” sermons will leave a congregation “ripe” for the infiltration of false doctrine. Truly, God’s people today will be “destroyed” due to a lack of knowledge.
There is a popular game show which has contestants be asked questions from various categories. I am amazed to see the knowledge that people have with such categories as “World Geography,” “Science,” and “Poetry.” However, in most cases, when they come to the category called “The Bible,” their knowledge drops to about the level of most any five-year-old who would regularly attend our Bible classes. These otherwise intelligent people don’t know the difference between the Old and New Testament. They might not know who built the ark, where Adam and Eve lived, or who Moses was. Knowledge about such subjects as math and science is certainly good, but this kind of knowledge only pertains to this life. On the other hand, knowledge of God’s Word pertains to eternity. This knowledge will have an effect on our eternal destination. We must make sure that we have a proper knowledge of God’s Word remembering that salvation is ONLY promised to those who OBEY THE LORD (Heb. 5:8-9, Mt. 7:21-22).