I have a friend who’s a regular reader here at Deeper Waters. This lady would be the first to deny what I say. I see her though as a quite godly lady who on the devotional side I have no doubt is more committed than I am. I thought about her today getting ready to speak somewhere as she had said she prays always for me and my roommate and knew I was speaking tonight as I’d mentioned it much earlier. She is definitely a saint in my eyes and I’m pleased to call her friend.
She spoke to me a couple of days ago about an incident by first asking me if I know Greek. I don’t. I know a few words here and there and could probably read a sentence, though I couldn’t translate it. I asked her why and she told me she’d been around some Christians who do and they were saying that you just couldn’t get the full message without the Greek language and that she wasn’t as mature in her faith without that knowledge.
Now I’ll grant one part. You can get a much fuller understanding of what’s going on in the Scriptures by studying the original languages, as I have done some study in Greek. However, I was infuriated to hear that some people were lowering my friend’s Christianity and calling her immature simply based on the fact that she does not know Greek. (I challenged her to learn the language though and maybe she will anyway.)
This is a danger many of us face who are intellectual. I will not deny that I believe God gave me a gift of intelligence. However, I cannot make one hair on my head white or black. Why should I think I was the one that gave my head the ability to grasp ideas the way that I do and store knowledge? Now I can work at what I have an improve it, but there are some people with a more natural bent this way and I believe I am one of them.
It would be easy, and I’ll admit it’s sometimes tempting, to look at the other person in church and think, “Do you have any clue whatosever about the JEPD hypothesis?” or “Can you explain to me what the outcome is if we deny the doctrine of the simplicity of God?” or “I bet you can’t tell me what heresy is being dealt with in the epistle to the Colossians.”
It’s a real danger, but I must not do that. I do often get compliments, and while I could use them to puff myself up, I have to constantly remember who I am. I am but of yesterday and know nothing. God made it just fine without me and he can make it without me. I am not the blessing to him in my ministry. I am the one that is blessed by being allowed to be in this work. I am not glorified by what he does. He should be glorified by what I do.
Knowledge can definitely puff up, and it angers me to see this happening. If you know the original language, great! Don’t use it though to think that you’re superior to your fellow brothers and sisters. If anything, use what you can to teach them and help them. Remember also the blessing of being a teacher. A teacher is supposed to teach their students, but a student ends up teaching their students more.
Intelligence is a gift, but like any other gift, it’s to be accepted in gracious thankfulness. It’s not about you. It’s about him. And yes, this is something I have to remind myself also. I suspect we all do to some degree.