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Subtitle: KNOWLEDGE IS GAINED

Amy Peikoff, Law Professor, posted on Parler (a social media platform, like Twitter), “[T]he things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them, e.g., men become builders by building and lyre-players by playing the lyre; so too we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts” (Aristotle: Nichomachean Ethics).

The words of the renown philosopher certainly have a ring of truth; experiences tell us as much. While learning come by experience, it also comes an additional way. Before something can be done, one must learn about that which he is going to build or play. In a similar way, before one knows how to administer justice, exercise a temperate disposition, and even be brave in some situations, he (and she) must know what these qualities of life are and how to implement them.

One’s ability to know comes from where? There are only two sources by which we come to know something. In the natural realm, we come to know things by experience with those material things in our world. A second source by which we come to know something is from outside of our human experience, that is, information comes to us from a Source greater than us. In the case of the Lord, this Source of information interacts with us in our material Universe.

In the natural realm, we come to know things because the Lord created within us the ability to think and discern, we pay attention to those material things we experience. In other words, the mind (brain) generates a logical analysis (or connection) to things in our material world which brings us to conclude this or that about it.

In biblical matters, we take a similar approach. No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me (John 6:44-45). The Lord expected those of His day to learn from what had been written, from a Source greater than the man who put pen to paper (Moses). We gain knowledge by learning and considering the connection between the words written by the One who spoke them and the relation to that which about which He spoke. In Acts 17:11, the truth-seekers in Berea were considered honorable because they compared what Paul spoke with what the Lord wrote.

Information (knowledge) comes from a teacher who teaches you, and you learn. Now it came to pass, while the multitude pressed upon him and heard the word of God, that he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5.1). It comes from objects that leave an impression on/with you. But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5.1-8). It comes by what a person reads. “…how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3-4). It comes from our response to experiences with objects. And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God; and they were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day (Luke 5.26). It comes from the mind being creative and forming its own impressions. But Jesus perceiving their reasonings, answered and said unto them, Why reason ye in your hearts? (Luke 5.22).

Sometimes, the information we have is not properly analyzed or interpreted for it to be called knowledge, that is, something based on facts; instead, it’s an opinion based on a response to information seen, heard, or read. It’s up to each of us to do something with it; will we pursue to gain more information, or will we be satisfied with what little we learned? It was Paul who wrote about the Source of the knowledge he had, impressing upon the church at Ephesus this admonition, “Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).