“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” (Colossians 1:9-10)
For many years I worked in Africa as a missionary with The Rafiki Foundation, which runs Christian Classical schools in ten countries on the continent. Like many Christian Classical schools, the Rafiki curriculum is built around three natural stages of learning: grammar, logic, and rhetoric, which reflect the biblical worldview, so central to CCE.1 Simply put, knowledge is the foundation for the development of understanding, which leads to wisdom. As in CCE, Christians are to build wisdom on a foundation of logic, which is built on the foundation of true knowledge. Wisdom is only accomplished to the extent that there is trustworthy knowledge of a subject and understanding of how this knowledge interrelates. God’s people can only be as wise as they are knowledgeable and understanding in the person and work of God. John Calvin writes: “…it is a true knowledge of God which begets confidence in him, and leads us to call upon him; and as none can seek him sincerely but those who have apprehended the promises…”2
Knowledge of God and His attributes is evident in the world around us. “The heavens…day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2) God also give us personal knowledge of His existence and holiness in our conscience, so we have knowledge of God every time we make a decision that has moral or ethical implications. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (Proverbs 1:7a) However, Christians have special knowledge and understanding of God through the person of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20) Understanding that leads to biblical wisdom requires consistent study of the Bible, since it is the revelation of God for His people, and the primary means by which we mature in our knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Sermons, talks, podcasts, articles, study Bibles, devotionals, and commentaries that are true to Scripture help us to know and understand the Lord. Only then can we begin to apply what we know and understand for wise choices and decisions. With practice, we can learn to make the best use of our time, resources, intellect, interests, affections, skills, and spiritual gifts to glorify God—this is wisdom. How will you enlarge your knowledge and understanding of God, in order to develop more effective wisdom?
- CCE—Classical Christian Education
John Calvin, “Heart Aflame”, P & R Publishing, 1999, (August 15 entry on Psalm 91:14)