By Stefanie Boyles
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
Ever heard of the phrase, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know”? It was coined by Aristotle, and it was a sentiment shared by Albert Einstein. Einstein put it this way: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” These brilliant men were verbalizing what seems to be a universal condition of mankind: our minds are finite. There will always be gaps in our knowledge and understanding. That’s why even those considered experts in particular subject matters continue exploring, hypothesizing, researching, and studying their fields of expertise. They have the heightened awareness that there is more to learn. So much so that they devote their entire careers to one subject matter, all while knowing that others will come after them and advance the field even further.
This is something that I have found to be true regarding Bible literacy. The more I learn about Scripture, the more I realize how much I don’t know. It is as if there is a positive correlation: the more I grow in my knowledge of Scripture, the more I am made aware of my lack of knowledge of its deep truths. And it’s true: I could devote my entire life to studying the Bible, and I will still fail to unearth all of its riches. This is true of even the smartest theologian on earth. Our finite minds cannot fully comprehend our infinite God and all He has revealed in His Word.
Yet, when it comes to God and His Word, we can find tremendous comfort in not knowing everything. Isn’t it comforting to know that God is so much bigger and greater than our minds could ever comprehend? Isn’t it awesome to worship a God who created the universe out of nothing—a God who just spoke a word? It’s mind-blowing! Yet, it affirms our belief that He is worthy of all our worship. We can actually be comfortable with the gaps in our knowledge and understanding about God because we can trust that He knows everything (and He knows us!).
This doesn’t mean that believers don’t value knowledge. We do! We are a people who understand that God created us, His image bearers, with the capacity to learn. Our faith is not rooted in our feelings, but it is anchored in the truth found in Scripture. And our faith matures as we continually engage our minds and our hearts through the study of His Word. And the thing is, we are not merely storing up factual information about God when we study His Word, because His Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). There’s power—to transform our minds, to convict us of our sins, to bring comfort to aching hearts, to heal deep wounds, to strengthen weary souls, to illuminate misunderstandings, to alleviate our fears, to cause us to rejoice, and so much more. The Word allows us to get to know the One who transforms, convicts, comforts, heals, strengthens, illuminates, etc.
Yes, we may never know everything about God, but we are invited to a life-long endeavor of getting to know our infinite God with our finite minds. We have the privilege of getting to know His character and His promises as we study His Word. And here’s the thing: we don’t have to find our worth in how much we know. Instead, we find our worth in the One who knows it all. We diligently study His Word, longing to grow in our knowledge and understanding of who He is, but this discipline is fueled by love. We strive in prayer and the various spiritual disciplines, not to make a name for ourselves or be applauded for discovering new insight but to grow in Christlikeness and better adorn the gospel in our lives. All for His name’s sake, not our own!
And we don’t do it alone. We do it in community with fellow believers. God, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed each of us to be instruments of grace in one another’s lives. We get to help each other fill in each other’s gaps by studying Scripture together. We need each other’s insights into God’s Word! We help each other accurately interpret God’s word and then appropriately apply its principles to our lives. There’s a beautiful, life-giving dynamic within the body of Christ that is orderly and necessary for the edification of the whole.
Friends, it is very true that the more we learn about God’s Word, the more we will realize how much more we have yet to learn. But may we press on, knowing it is doing a good work in us. It is sanctifying us and equipping us to do the work He has prepared for us to do. And it is cultivating a precious intimacy with our God who has offered a means for His people to know Him—in part now but fully when He returns and we see Him face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13:12).