Francis Bacon once said that “Knowledge is power.” It is all-important in every area of life. Ignorance is weakness. The statement, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you” is of course not always true. It often does. Ignorance can get you into real trouble. “If only I had known…” is repeated all too often.
Knowledge is empowering. It provides the skills and abilities we need to accomplish our goals, be creative, or have a career. Knowledge gives us understanding of how and why things work the way they do. Knowledge provides us with good health and protects us against dangers, risks, and deceptive scams. It enables us to know the right way to go and not get lost. The pursuit of knowledge is why we go to school, the reason we read books, and the goal of enriching life experiences.
2 Peter 1:5-8 enumerates several qualities that disciples should add to faith. First add virtue, and then the knowledge that empowers us to attain it.
The most important knowledge we can acquire is knowledge based on the word of God. Adding this knowledge is the key to maturity and wisdom. “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).
This knowledge of God’s word leads to knowledge of the Author of the word. There is no greater knowledge than knowing God. Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight,’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 9:23-24). How well do we know the Lord?
Knowledge of God and his word brings great rewards. Peter speaks of life, godliness, and usefulness (vv. 3, 8) as rewards of knowing God. Lack of knowledge, on the other hand, brings dire spiritual and moral consequences. Throughout Scripture, we are warned that the lack of knowledge of God and his word leads to ruin. The prophets said that God’s people went into captivity “for lack of knowledge” (Isa. 5:13; Hos. 4:6). “An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isa. 1:3).
Knowledge of the truth will set us free from sin (John 8:32). That’s truly empowering!
Knowledge of God and his word must be sought diligently. It is only acquired as the result of deliberate, diligent effort (2 Tim. 2:15). This, of course, is true of anything of value. Psalm 119 consists of 176 verses extolling the virtues and benefits of meditating upon the word of God. Add knowledge!
Knowledge must be applied to life to be of value. James says the person who has knowledge, but does not apply it, is like the self-deluded person who looks at himself in the mirror, then forgets what he saw (Jas. 1:22-25). “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). The knowledge of God is indeed empowering, but only if we make application to our life!