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Featured Education: Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by John of Japan, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Often here on the BB, people suggest that an uneducated debater or theologian can be just as effective as an educated one. The idea is that we all have the same Holy Spirit, so education isn't that helpful for Bible interpretation. Well, yes and no.

    The answer to the idea that theological education doesn't help much is the Biblical concept of what I call a trilogy of the mind: knowledge, understanding, wisdom. Now that term is not in Scripture, but the concept is there quite often, with those three terms being used together in numerous passages of Scripture. In my theology, knowledge consists of facts and their inter-relation, understanding is the ability to discern what those facts and their relationships mean, and wisdom is the ability to make the right choices in regards to those facts.

    A good education may or may not give you wisdom. Wisdom is a gift from God, as witness the story of Solomon. It can be prayed for and received (James 1:5), or simply gained from diligent Bible study. Understanding can be gained to some degree in this way also, as can knowledge. But a good theological education allows one to sift through mistakes much faster. For example, in my son's new book on Rev. 1-3, he points out how Rev. 3:3 is referring to the fact that Sardis had twice been conquered by armies sneaking in.

    Note the following passages which teach the trilogy of the mind. (There many others.)

    Ex 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowletdge, and in all manner of workmanship,

    Pr 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth [cometh] knowledge and understanding.

    Pr 2:10-11 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

    Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

    Da 1:4 Children in whom [was] no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as [had] ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

    Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

    Eph 1:17-18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.
     
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  2. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    I've heard it argued in fundamental circles that education is a liberalizer and so it is frowned upon.

    Rob
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    No one in the fundamental circles I grew up in and live in ever taught that. John R. Rice respected conservative scholarship, and FBF stalwarts like Monroe Parker, PhD, and Ed Nelson also respected it. Our college was given Ed Nelson's massive library that year, and I helped with the sorting.

    Maranatha is regionally accredited, and BJU has always been known for their high academic level. Tennessee Temple, where I went wasn't known for being scholarly, but did have a lot of people with doctorates on the faculty, including James Price in the seminary, the OT editor of the NKJV and HCSB.
     
  4. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    The academic background of Maranatha's "founding fathers"

    From 1977-1979, MBBC Catalog:


    B. Myron Cedarholm, B.A, B.D., Th.M. D.D Litt.D., L.H.D. Iowa State College, University of Minnesota, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Northwestern Schools, Baptist Bible College [Denver], Bob Jones University


    M. James Hollowood, B.A., Th.B., D.D., University of the City of New York, National Bible Institute, Eastern Baptist College, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Central Baptist Seminary


    Richard C. Weeks, B.A., B.D. M.A. D.D. Wheaton College, Albion College, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, University of Chicago [Residence work completed for Th.D.] Pillsbury College
     
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  5. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    When a group is defined by a strict code conduct or a narrow dogma and when they aggressively reject dissenting opinion, there is a propensity to shield and protect individuals from unorthodox inquiry.

    The fact that we have a fundamental forum on this board is testimony to this idea.

    Rob
     
  6. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Education is not to be looked upon as knowledge, for they are not the same and distinction is appropriately made in this thread.

    Folks may acquire an education but without knowledge such often bumble and stumble, often unaware or unwilling to acknowledge their own frailty, perhaps too proud to admit needing help.

    Knowledge comes from hands on training. One knows by being involved and applying the education. Whether application of education is with a person or an object. One may have an education on the mechanics of driving but no knowledge of driving.

    One may have a heart for the Gospel, even an exalted education in the Gospel, but until they stand in the under shepherd shoes of a local assembly and gain knowledge, that person is basically worthless.

    Paul said, "That I may know... that I might fellowship in ..."

    Too often (imo) churches select youth leaders who have no knowledge. They may be educated, but do not have hands on experience. These often flounder when a Godly shepherd is needed as an overseer. The same with seminary and university graduates who go out with no experience. There should be some mentoring program, oversight, guidance required as part of the training.

    I contend that it matters not what a person's education level, all need to have hand on experience before granting some alphabet be added to their name.

    Thankfully, in the past some fundamental educators were leaders in this, and more than one institution required students to do actual work and practice in the field as a requirement for graduation, no matter the degree emphasis. The school (who gave Dr. Bob Johns Sr. his doctorate) used to have as a motto: Head, Heart, Hand. Every graduate was required to do hands on work in the field to graduate. I don't know if this is still a requirement but in the 60's it was.

    At one time the term "principal" (as the principal of the school) was known as the "principal teacher." Not one who ruled from an office, but the one who mentored and taught along side particularly the new teachers as knowledge and wisdom in the craft and gift were modeled.

    I personally have little time for the alphabet added to people's names unless there is also history of knowledge and wisdom, practical work experience to demonstrate that education is also coexisting with character and a strong work ethic.

    I am reminded (and have posted before) about a great medical doctor who was truly gifted in both diagnosis and surgery. Highly recognized as a teacher and mentor to other doctors. In his office was a stuffed mallard duck. On the plaque was written, "The Original Quack."

    He would humbly walk the halls of the teaching hospital and few patrons knew how remarkable his skills and the depth of his insight until there was a need. Then his education, wisdom and knowledge were exposed.
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    As an educator for over 30 years, I have to disagree. I teach knowledge every day of my teaching ministry. You cannot acquire an education without acquiring knowledge. Please look back at my definition of knowledge if you are going to disagree with this. You have to define knowledge before talking about how it is obtained.

    You are confusing skill and knowledge with this paragraph. Becoming cognizant of the mechanics of driving is knowledge. Actually learning to drive is to learn a skill.
    I would not call anyone "worthless" for whom Christ died.
    Now you've jumped from factual knowledge to relationships. When we say "I know him" we mean "I have a relationship with him." For example, if I say "I know Donald Trump" (which I don't), I may be saying I have met him. I am not saying that I have any grasp of the facts of his politics or opinions or personal history.
    If they have an education, they have knowledge. What they need is people skills (a form of wisdom) and other areas of wisdom, which is what mentoring can give.A good college will give hands on training to impart skills as knowledge and understanding are being imparted.

    I often have drills in my classes for that purpose. In Advanced Missions 2, which I will teach in a 2 week block in Jan., I have an exercise where the students divide into two groups, with each inventing a culture which will then be evangelized by the other group. This gives the students some hands on experience. Meanwhile, they are out soul winning every week. One of our future missionaries is working with Muslims in S. Milwaukee, and others are working with Hmong. (We recently had a Hmong couple saved.)

    Again, in Greek 102 next semester, I will eventually divide the students into translation committees, where they will learn what a missionary Bible translation committee does as they translate 1 John.
    As far as I know, all fundamental schools require "extension" ministries. Ours certainly does.

    Our pres/pastor is currently teaching "Philosophy of Ministry."

    I would agree with this.
    I would never, ever submit the temple of the Holy Spirit to a doctor with no medical degree. Those degrees really do mean something, though it is true that after getting the degree the doctor must be mentored in a residency.
     
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  8. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    A chair.

    Knowledge = I know what a chair is.

    Understanding = I know what a chair is for.

    Wisdom = My knowledge and understanding are applied to my life and causes a change for the better (I sit down - I use my knowledge and understanding to improve my life).

    Wisdom is Knowledge and Understanding in action in my life.

    I taught Philosophy of Ministry at both Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College and San Diego Baptist Theological Seminary. My favorite class. All the knowledge and understanding from all the other classes put into action in our ministries. :)
     
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  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Excellent analysis.

    I've never had the privilege. I know I would enjoy teaching it, but don't think I'd be the best prof for it.
     
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  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    And the school retains its high standards to this day. I'm glad I got my MA there, and have just been accepted into the DMin program.
     
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  11. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Has anyone actually suggested that?

    I suggest you have omitted at least two very important points -

    Logic & Reasoning.

    Those contributing to discussions generally have sufficient education & knowledge to understand the Scriptures under discussion; wisdom (applied common sense(?)) is also needed to guide our practical understanding. It is when we seek to interpret what we are discussing that logic & reasoning take over, & often lead us in different directions.
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Some have suggested it.

    Think again. I am offering a completely Biblical trilogy, and you are adding to it. The Bible does not include logic and reasoning in this trilogy, which often appears in Scripture, though they have their separate place.
    So do you deny the need of a theological education for a preacher?
     
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  13. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    You are speaking of a theologically trained person, as opposed to Church and bible study trained person ..when you say...uneducated Correct?

    1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa,...No PHD...but he had God's word in his mouth..


    Acts 4:13
    Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.


    This in part addresses the previous question..

    Yes...this can be helpful...

    Well case in point.....a person is saving big money at Menards in Oconomowac...lol...He gets into a conversation with another shopper, and presents the gospel...now how will this historical detail help him open gospel truth to this shopper? From where I sit..people do not even know about Sardis or the other churches...so how will the "uneducated person" lack in this discussion? How is that relevant to Redemptive History?


    These look as if they are addressed to all.....now a theologically trained Pastor can break it down with showing the emphasis of the text and that is indeed why they are given to the church....
     
    #13 Iconoclast, Dec 7, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Glad you see the point.

    In order to witness for Christ, one must have (a) knowledge of what the Gospel is; (b) understanding of how it applies to the prospect; (c) wisdom to decide to actually witness. "He that winneth souls is wise" because he steps forward, takes a chance, and makes the decision to obey the Great Commission.

    Other than that, specialized knowledge can certainly help in evangelism. I studied Japan and its religions, culture and society long and hard to help me win the Japanese. When I had the chance to win a yakuza gangster to the Lord, it helped me to know who the yakuza are and what their customs and mores are.

    An area in which a theological education can help evangelism is in comparative religions. Soteriology can certainly help. If I run into someone interested in future things, eschatology can help. And so forth.
    Since the passages are in the Bible, they are certainly addressed to all. Every man in the pew can gain a good education. Once in a long time someone comes along without a theological education who turns into a Bible scholar, but that is rare. (Pierpont who with Maurice Robinson edited the Byzantine Textform Greek NT is one example.) Therefore, those of us who get a good theological education can certainly help the churches.

    1 Tim. 5:17--"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."
     
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  15. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member

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    Some degree of anti-intellectualism can be found in almost every church, unfortunately. Most of it can be described as a form of Gnosticism. It's the idea that "Jesus, me, and my Bible" is all I need. These folks misunderstand a couple of verses by pulling them out of their context and run with the idea that they need no teachers, theologians, etc. It seems that many of the same people who are anti-intellectual also treat the Church as optional. In another online forum, I saw many comments that stated their online interaction was equal to, or better than, attending a local congregation.
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I know several people who think all the churches are apostate, so they don't go. (One comes to church with her hubby, but criticizes severely.) As you say, they think that they can discover all truth by themselves. They also ignore the command not to forsake the assembling together.

    As for me, I am so glad to have a godly, Scripturally deep pastor after 33 years on the mission field listening to my own sermons in another language!
     
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  17. JohnDeereFan

    JohnDeereFan Well-Known Member
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    There are a couple of ways to look at this.

    The first and most obvious is, educated or not, if God wants to use a person, He will.

    But many years ago, back in the mid-80s, I was a social worker in the hills and hollers of Appalachia. One of the people I met there was a pastor named Charles Westin (not to be confused with either the founder of Methodism or the Burn Notice guy).

    He never went past the fifth grade, but his knowledge of the scriptures and his abilities as a pastor, put my own to shame.

    If he lacked anything at all, I would say it was only like that of a painter who has only one color on his palette. He may still be a brilliant artist (Pablo Picasso's paintings from his "Blue Period", for example, are considered among the greatest works of art in history), but he has limited the colors with which he can express himself.

    Education isn't everything, but it's a very important tool and, if I may, a common grace of God that we should take advantage of if we can.
     
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  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I have my own story. When I went to Bible college, a young man named Billy Joe from the hills of Tennessee was put in our dorm. He was very eager to preach, but could barely read. He proudly read John 3:16 to me once, stumbling over the words. He only lasted in the Bible institute (a branch of the school) a couple of weeks, not even having enough basic education to get by.
    There are other factors at play in such a man. First of all, a pastor is a gift from God to the church (Eph. 4:11). Some pastors are extraordinarily gifted naturally for the task, but they too are the gift of God to the church.

    Again, in line with the OP, such a man may have wonderful wisdom and understanding to help him with the task. Where he will lack is in knowledge of the original languages and the societies and cultures underlying the Word of God. He may not be able to tell who Gamaliel was, or why the two words for "burden" in Gal. 6:1-5 have different meanings. So he will limit his ministry somewhat.

    Your point is taken about Picasso's Blue Period--though I hate his work. :Cautious I see no beauty in it, and beauty is from God. Art should be beautiful, coming as it ought from the image of God in us. (Cf Art and the Bible, by Francis Schaeffer.)
    Very true.
     
  19. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    I am thankful to the LORD for those on the BB who are well educated, who took the time and gave of their resource
    to occupy and stand in the gap until He returns.
    Who earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

    We take them for granted who keep the flame of truth burning.

    1 Timothy 3:15 ... the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    HankD
     
  20. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    "Gnosis"

    Paul said knowledge such as you would seem to define it puffs up.

    I place knowledge experiential understanding from applications of what is learned through education.

    That you state, "...educator for over 30 years.... I teach knowledge...." is just wrong. You don't teach KNOWING. You as an educator give instruction. IF that instruction is received and the learner applies that education then they acquire experiential knowledge.

    You are an educator you are not a knowledge-ator.






    As if one can "acquire a skill" is not "knowing how to drive."

    An educator can tell the drivers ed class all the rules. Teach all the mechanics. Provide all the visual aids and have all the students pass the test to get a learner's permit.

    But until they actually get behind the wheel and drive and apply all that they learned, there is no knowledge, only education.

    You stand as an educator. You impart wisdom and your own understanding (knowledge) as from your own viewpoint that which is necessary.

    However, from the student view, your knowledge is mere anecdote to their own experience. It may help in story telling, but story telling doesn't carry the water.

    Now, "as an educator of" far more than 30 years, I can say that I totally agree with a huge amount of your thinking.

    However, in this area, I do consider that your alignment (continuing with the car illustration) is forcing the car to constantly need redirected, and if a slight change can be made, the car would drive true to the road.

    It is kind of like walking. Rarely does one remark about one with a "toe in" (car alignment sets the wheels slightly with a toe in), but great notice is made of the "toe out." Even ol' Pecos Bill noticed "Slue-foot Sue."
     
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