I’m often surprised to hear people who seem to wear their ignorance about a particular subject like a badge of honor. I suppose this is appropriate in matters of evil, but in other matters, especially matters surrounding God’s Word, ignorance can carry with it a high price.
The word for “ignorant” or “ignorance” in the New Testament Greek is agnoeo (pronounced og-nah-ay-o), from which we get our word “agnostic”. Agnostics plead “ignorance” when it comes to a knowledge or belief in God, as though the truth about God is either unknowable or not worth knowing. This word appears twenty four times in the New Testament. It means lacking knowledge or understanding. It can carry with it the idea of being noncommittal as well. Ignorance is never portrayed in Scripture in a favorable light, but rather as something that needs to be remedied.
Consider the following New Testament quotations:
“Are you ignorant that those of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” — Romans 6:3
“Are you ignorant, brethren, (for I speak to those knowing law,) that the law has jurisdiction over a man only as long as he lives?” — Romans 7:1
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” — 1Thessalonians 4:13
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.” — 1Corinthians 12:1
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” — Romans 11:25
Rather than applauding ignorance in the church, Paul seems to be on a quest to abolish it — even on points that are often difficult to understand. Too many believers, I fear, are content to restrict their knowledge and understanding of life’s deeper truths to that which happens across their path. And even then, they often are content to accept whatever is told them, thus abdicating their responsibility to “search the scriptures to see whether these things are true”.
While God has surely called us to a childlike faith or trust in Him and His Word, he has not called us to be children or simpletons in our thinking. “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 1Cor 14:20.
Proverbs 4:7 puts it like this:
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom! Though it cost all you have, get understanding!”
With the internet, we have unprecedented access to information. I’m convinced that our forbears would drool with envy to see the resources we have instantaneously at our disposal. Surely of all generations we have the least excuse for ignorance!
Let us resolve to never be “blissfully ignorant” of matters surrounding the faith. The truths that matter about our lives are contained within His Word. But, like gold, it is not always just lying around on the ground waiting for us to pick it up. Often it must be mined. Let’s dig deep!