I feel like I should, before beginning this post, to assert that this is not a Biblical word study. These are simply reflections of an everyday believer exposed to thoughts, facts, and opinions coming in at all sides. These are just my observations and how I process these things through the filter of wishing to know the truth and how to apply it in a God pleasing manner.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…notice the fear of the Lord in this verse. In other words, having knowledge without being under the realm of God’s authority is pretty pointless. Actually, it is dangerous. Knowledge is available to those of us in developed countries at a phenomenal scale these days. We can read and learn about anything we want to via the internet. The majority of us have access to schools, and the literacy rate is much lower in comparison to generations before. You would think that by now, we would have with all the knowledge we’ve obtained been able to conquer most of life’s problems and issues, but we all know that is absolutely not the case. This isn’t the case because even though knowledge is abundant, understanding is not.
I’m not talking about the understanding where you read a text and know what it means. I’m talking about the understanding where you can receive knowledge and be able to take it apart and digest it in a way that is truthful and applicable. Understanding simply isn’t interested in self promoting knowledge. Understanding puts truth as its first and foremost priority. Understanding accepts the responsibility to put that truth to good use.
What we “know”, on the other hand, has a tendency to put our own thoughts and opinions on a pedestal and has the arrogance to expect people to bow to it. This we all have done at some point in our lives. Knowledge, in itself, can place wedges between us and others or far worse, between us and God. This is because when only knowledge is sought out without the desire for understanding tends to stem up from the root of pride and self reliance.
This isn’t saying that knowledge is bad and shouldn’t be sought. I am saying that knowledge is only at its most fruitful when it begins under the recognition and submission to the Lord. It is rooted in humility. In fact, true wisdom and understanding can only come from God.
Knowledge is good. It is like the food we eat. When you eat good food, your body is healthier for it. When you eat bad food, your body does not function as it was created to. It is the same with what we put in our minds. Wisdom directs us in what knowledge to seek and understanding helps us break down that knowledge in a way that is, not only beneficial to us, but to those around us.
We should never just seek out knowledge by itself. Knowledge coupled with understanding, as well as wisdom and discernment should be sought out by all believers. Not just the gray headed ones wearing suits and ties. All of us should desire this and earnestly seek this out. It starts with the Bible. We pray for God’s wisdom and understanding reading it. We ask for its truth and how to apply it. We share it in humility and with a heart of worship.
The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. ~ Proverbs 1:7
Talk no more so very proudly; let not arrogance go forth from your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.~ 1 Samuel 2:3
How you have counseled him who has no wisdom! And how plentifully you have declared to him sound knowledge! ~ Job 26:3
Teach me good judgment, wise and right discernment, and knowledge, for I have believed (trusted, relied on, and clung to) Your commandments.~ Psalms 119:66
For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.~ Proverbs 2:6
Knowledge without understanding is like eating without being able to digest it. You just end up being full of it. ~ Janean