Worthy (2): Knowledge

In closing my last article, I spoke of how, although we know so much about God, there is still so much more for us to learn. As we gain knowledge, we not only learn how to better give God what He is worthy of, but also our knowledge of Him is something He deserves. It is important that we distinguish what kind of knowledge to gain. “All heathen wisdom is but folly. Of all knowledge, the knowledge of God is the principal. There is no true knowledge without godliness” (Bridges). It is not heathen wisdom, such as the knowledge of things here below, but true knowledge of God that is important. God is worthy of knowledge first, so that we may better praise Him, second, so we may reverently and affectionately obey His law, and third, so we can better love Him.

As mentioned in the previous article, our praise comes from an acknowledgment of what God has done for us. To be able to render any kind of praise to God we must have true knowledge of Him. When we consider that God is worthy, which the Bible says many times, (II Samuel 22:4, Psalm 18:3, Rev. 4:11, 5:9, 12) we consider the weight of God. God is worthy. God is worthy of so much above and beyond what we can ever render to Him. Yet, as children of God we have the desire to bring our best fruits and our best sacrifices before God as did the children of Abraham. It is only natural then that we yearn to know God better and to understand all that Christ has suffered for us. The more we learn of Christ’s death and God’s forgiveness of us, the more we realize we are undeserving and God is so merciful. As we realize this more and more we can better praise God for His work.

In Proverbs 1:7, we read of knowledge and its connection to our obedience of God’s law. We read that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The fear of the Lord is “the affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law” (Bridges).  Knowledge comes from and is obedience to God’s decree of His command. We must know God’s command and then we will have a mind that is obedient to Him.

To truly know God is to love Him. John points out the importance of knowing God in I John 4:7-8. John says that one who loves God will inevitably have knowledge of God and if one does not love God then he surely will not have any knowledge of God. We need knowledge to love God. That is why God gives us His perfect book, and reveals Himself to us with all the creation around us. We must know God is God, the God of infinite perfections, to love Him. It is important we do not make up a God, but we must know the One true God for who He is. When we truly know who God is we will be overflowing with love towards Him. We will be as the lame beggar who began walking and leaping and praising God when He first learned the name of Christ.

God is worthy that we must render so much unto Him. We know He is worthy of our gratitude, knowledge, praise, obedience, love and yet so much more than that too. Most importantly we must walk in a life of gratitude towards God which walk will be filled with learning about God and much more. How great a joy and blessing that God has shared His name with us so we may know Him!

Luke Christian Potjer

Bridges, Charles. “Proverbs”. pp. 3-4. 1846, First Banner of Truth Trust edition.

Running the Race

I recently went to a cross country meet for Covenant Christian High School (Grand Rapids, MI). For those of you who don’t know much about the sport, it’s running a distance through grass (which can slow you down more than you think). For high schoolers it is a distance of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). Needless to say, the weather is not always perfect. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, grass or mud, they run. I was even crazy enough to run on the team for two years through high school. I loved it even though some days were tough.  Attending the meet made me realize how much I missed that atmosphere.

I was reminded again why the Bible often compares the life of a Christian to that of a runner, and participation in this sport taught me a lot of lessons for everyday life. Cross country taught me how to set goals and learn how to achieve them, thus it made me a stronger person. The Christian can and should apply this same enthusiasm to his or her spiritually life and tasks of everyday life.  Running allows you to be competitive with other teams and your fellow teammates, but it’s friendly, as we were instructed to let our light shine, even (or especially) on the running field.

Even though you are running for an individual place, there is a team spirit that comes through, no matter if you are one of the first placers, towards the middle, or at the back. Your team is there to support you and cheer for you. The body of Christ should operate in the same manner: encouraging everyone in their journey of faith; not just popular or well-known people.

Being part of a crazy cross country-loving team is one of the best things I did in high school. Yes, you have tough days and bad races, but you also have a team and friends that are ready to pick you up and help you. Even on those bad race days I liked to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world. There’s a lot of other good things in your life to be thankful for.  Like those team mates and friends that you have in your life to help you get through any struggles, running or not.  

“…and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1c-2a).

Laura Feenstra

 

Book Review: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

I received a book as a gift entitled “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin. The author is a speaker and writer of women’s Bible studies and brings so much insight into studying the Bible in this book. It made me take a minute to stop and realize what studying the Bible was to me. I asked myself why I was studying the Bible. Was it to satisfy my own conscience? Was it to make myself feel good? Was I reading it looking for verses that spoke to me? Or was I reading it to find out more about who God was?   2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Wilkin said something that was true of me. She says: “I got it backwards, I failed to realize that the Bible is a book about God. The Bible is a book that clearly reveals who God is on every page…or perhaps I really did know that the Bible was a book about God, but I didn’t realize that I wasn’t reading it as if it were. I approached my study time asking the wrong questions. I read the Bible asking ‘Who am I’ and ‘What should I do?’ We must read the Bible with our ears trained on hearing God’s declaration of himself.”

Wilkin begins the book talking about her own life and experience, telling about her growing passion for studying the Bible. She then goes on to explain how she began to turn her study time in a different direction: rather than asking herself what the Bible could do for her, she asked herself “what am I learning about God in my study, since this book is about Him?”  She also explains how before she had often let her heart lead her in her study. I think a lot of modern Christianity today asks, “How is this making me feel?” instead of “What am I learning about God and my walk with Him?” But remember, we cannot love what our minds do not know; we first have to have the knowledge. Psalm 119: 125 “I am thy servant, give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.”

Wilkin explains that the book’s purpose is “to teach you not merely a doctrine, concept, or story line, but a study method that will allow you to open up the Bible on your own. It intends to challenge you to think and to grow, using tools accessible to all of us, whether we hold a high school diploma or a seminary degree, whether we have minutes or hours to give to it each day.”

After talking about her failures and changes in study, Wilkin talks about a desire for Bible literacy.  Bible literacy is “when a person has access to a Bible in a language they understand and is steadily moving toward knowledge and understanding of the text.” She lists a few different approaches of studying the Bible, explaining what they are, and the problems she has with them. She then begins to give her readers a different guide for studying the Bible, talking about the “Five P’s” of study. Here she teaches her readers to study with Purpose, Perspective, Patience, Process, and Prayer.  She goes through each one of these in great detail, giving a what, how, and why for each. This takes up most of the book and is a simple way of going about studying the Bible, which brings forth valuable findings.

I loved how throughout her book Wilkin shows her great love for God and because of that love, her love for His Word. She says quite a few times how she loves the Bible because it teaches her about God.  The way she speaks of and describes the Bible proves her words to be true. I also found that I really liked the way she told her readers that our minds should be trained before our hearts so that we can understand before letting our emotions take over our study.

As part of the objective audience for this book, being a woman, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it for women, but I know that men could find it beneficial as well. She is a very good writer, easy to understand and uses great examples and Scripture to back up her points. As always we must read with great discretion, especially when it comes to books that are popular mainstream by Christian publishers, but I wholeheartedly think that this is a great book to read and to help start a foundation for studying God’s Word.  She simply states a humble way of studying the Bible and I have found it to be very helpful in my own personal study time.

Lisa Heystek

Book quotations taken from: Wilkin, Jen. Women of the Word, Crossway 2014.