The Exaltation of Knowledge

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, (2 Peter 1:5 NASB)


Knowledge without moral excellence is a train ride to disaster.


I was a public school teacher for many years. On the walls of the hallways in one of the school districts where I taught were signs that said, “Knowledge is Power.” There is a truth to that phrase, but an even greater reality is that knowledge without moral character is a recipe for disaster. Information without values invariably leads to the misuse of power.


A half-century ago, we decoupled Bible reading and prayer from public education in our nation. We started giving students knowledge without the foundation of moral absolutes. In God’s idea of education, there is a progression. First faith, then apply moral absolutes or character training and then add to that knowledge. It does not work the other way around. The result has been the chaos we have experienced in public education. You cannot maintain discipline without a sense of what is right and wrong. You need to get your students’ attention to provide them with information. That is precisely what has been happening in education—students graduating from high school who read at an eighth-grade level.     


Many years ago, our nation decided that education was the answer to the world’s ills. They thought they would do the right thing if they gave people better information. They created an educational system without God, devoid of moral constraints, and how has that worked? We have dwelt on man’s mind with the exclusion of the heart and have created educated people with little common sense to live peaceably together.


Knowledge has its place; God does not put a premium on ignorance, yet the mind must be subservient to the heart in true education. Change your mind without the heart, and you will never have transformation. Changing the heart without the mind is not complete either. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that works on the heart and mind.


Exult God first, and you will get knowledge and wisdom. Exult knowledge first, without God, and you will gain knowledge without the wisdom of how to use it lovingly.


The image is used with permission from Microsoft.

Ken Barnes is the author of “Broken Vessels,” published in February 2021, and “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” published by YWAM Publishing in 2011.

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