“A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.”
When I have heard this little proverb, I have often chuckled as it reminds me of a story my Dad loves to tell from his childhood, when his eldest brother pushed my him out into the Mediterranean Sea in a tin bathtub. My uncle knew that a bathtub was a similar shape to a boat, and that boats were sometimes made from metal so surely it would float like a boat! However, he didn’t quite know enough to realise that a tin bathtub didn’t quite have the buoyancy to stay afloat with a person in it, so my Dad sank. Even though my Dad could not yet swim a passer by jumped in and saved him and I am obviously thankful to say he survived! However, on that day a little bit of knowledge was in fact a dangerous thing!
On a Saturday we have been taking some time on this blog to work through 2Peter1:3-11 but are currently focusing on verses 5-8;
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the pursuit to learn how Peter is teaching us to be effective and fruitful in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ we have thought about “faith” and then adding to that “virtue” and now in verse 5 & 6, “knowledge”. Peter is not specific here on what that knowledge is of, as he does in other places, he simply states knowledge, and that we are to gain in (as with the other attributes) in increasing measure.
I have wrestled over what to say about knowledge and what not to say, the temptation is to give a warning as the Bible is clear about the pitfalls we fall into when we seek knowledge for our own ends. It can be used it as a place of boasting, superiority, selfishness, false assurance and even as a tool for oppression. However, I have decided that this is a place to write in praise of knowledge and I hope you find my short reflections refreshing;
- All knowledge is God’s knowledge
When we learn about creation and how what is created expresses itself, we learn about the Creator and how He expresses himself. Yes, learning about the Bible is important with the understanding of its significance as God’s unique word, however God has also revealed Himself in all things He has created. Pursing learning of things other than the Bible does not disconnect them from God but using the Bible we can learn with a God-centred perspective. (Psalm 148)
- The diversity of knowledge shows the magnitude of God
We often talk about the sciencey people or the sporty ones or the creative types. People’s interests are so diverse, and we are often passionate about different things. I think it’s amazing that there are so many different things to learn, and when learning new things, we learn new aspects of God we may not know about. For to see God only through the eyes of our own interests would be to reduce God and miss out on His greatness.
- Knowledge is healthy when we learn in relationship with God
When we learn in relationship with God, we learn that there is knowledge of things that are good and things that are bad. Knowledge with God is a beautiful thing as He shows us what is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worth of praise. It also exposes what is contrary to God, and in doing so we may be compelled towards fighting for good through justice to bring peace. (Phil3:8-9)
In conclusion, I think a little knowledge may in fact be a dangerous thing! As to learn little is to know little about God. So today join me in praying for a Godly attitude in learning.