How Much Education is Needed?
Have you ever wondered how much of an education one needs to understand Scriptures or at least to find out what God wants us to do? Education seems so important to those that are striving to get ahead in their life. While I agree to some extent that to get ahead in this life, a good education helps, but the real important priority that one should have is found in the Bible. Don't misunderstand me, however, for I am not saying that having an education is bad; in fact, my wife is a school teacher. But I am questioning how educated someone must be to understand the Bible. The Bible tells us that we should seek first the kingdom of God, and He will take care of our problems and provide us with everything we need in this life. I also see the many situations in which having an education gets in the way of salvation for many. More on that as we go along. Let's go to God's word to check out what it says about education in regards to the following examples that I've run across.
Every so often, an apologist will tell me how mistaken my Bible knowledge is because I don't have the degrees needed to fully understand what God's message is meant to be. More specifically, recently, I've had one tell me that they've studied Greek, and therefore, they know Scripture in its proper meaning. Another time, they gave me a list of so-called church fathers that are saying the same things that they are trying to point out, telling me the importance of knowing church history. Even when I first became a believer, I had a person comment about how much their church leader is prepared better than I am because he had so many degrees, whereas I am just a common ordinary mill worker. Another person has commented that I need to know the times and circumstances of the people that lived when the particular Bible passage was given for them, in order to know the meaning of scripture.
Most of these statements may have an element of truth In their explanations, such as knowing the Scriptures in context does help, but many of these statements are not totally true. Let me explain. In regards to the many that quote church fathers, I have to wonder are the church fathers, and what they say, infallible? And what about the church fathers that say things that differ from the apologetic's view, who might feel as I believe? And how accurate is the historical account that they are trusting in? My point is that there is such a large opportunity for impostors and deception to creep in, how does one know which "father" to believe? Is it really a requirement to know the church history, Greek, or to get some sort of degree and/or to search what every one of the church fathers have stated over the last 2000 years to know what the Bible really says? Not according to what Scriptures tell us.
Paul simply tells us in Galatians 1:8,9 that, "Even if we or an angel should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached, let him be accursed." Jesus once said that there are people mistaken because they don't know Scriptures. (Matthew 22:29) Since by knowing Scriptures, it shows that many of the church fathers were not following God's word. As far as those with all of their degrees, our salvation is not a result of how smart or educated we are, but rather it is a heart condition. Much of what seems logical in those arguments that the apologist presents are not correct. Sure, it may seem logical to think that one must know what the people's lives were like, we must not forget that "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." (Hebrews 8:13) So regardless of how the people lived, His Word still applies. In fact, we find in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that "God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise." The Bible also tells us (Matthew 18:3) that unless one becomes like a little child, they cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Like a child, we must trust in God, not ourselves.
The Bible gives us a clear revelation that we can understand Scriptures better by humbly searching God's Word to see what it says. Just look at what Acts 4:13 says, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered: and they recognized that they had been with Jesus." This verse says it all. Notice that those in attendance were more impressed with the fact that they knew Jesus, not how educated the disciples were? As already mentioned, it’s the heart condition. And as they say at my church, "God doesn't look for your ability, He seeks your availability."
In closing, we only have to do as the early church did in Acts 2:42 - "devote yourself to the apostles teachings (the bible), and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." So as Jesus said to go to Him and you will find rest. Romans 1 tells us that the Gospel has the power to save; there is no excuse. Peter tells us that we can grow by the digesting of the Word. Regardless how highly educated you may or may not be has no realistic advantage to getting to know Jesus and His plan. And Jesus tells us in John 8:31,32, " to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Finally, as Paul tells us. "the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:15,16,17) That's the kind of education we all need, just to know what Scriptures say. Then we'll be better equipped, able to do as Paul says, "take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,... that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel." (Ephesians 6:17-19)