Tag Archives: knowledge

Fear the Lord | Bible Gleanings – March 18-19, 2023

Watching the roaring of the Niagara Falls with a healthy regard and respect for its immense power is what we might call regular fear. It is entirely natural to feel this way about something so immensely powerful. Staying far away from New York for fear of accidentally falling into the torrent is an unhealthy anxiety, what we may call ruinous fear. It is unnatural to be paralyzed by fear for no rational reason. However, gazing in amazement at the falls while simultaneously recognizing your own frailty is what we would call reverential fear; it is perceiving both the magnificence of the falls and your own smallness—and standing in awe as a result. 

And that kind of reverential awe is precisely what God expects when He calls us to fear Him (cf. Psalm 33:8; Eccl. 12:13; Luke 1:50). He doesn’t want us to be crippled by deleterious terror, the way a slave cringes before his master. Rather, the Lord desires that we possess and express a holy fear of His greatness and grandeur. It is a fear produced from understanding the supremacy of God and the sinfulness of man. Such reverential fear says, “Lord, I revere You because You are holy, righteous, and good—and I am not.”

It is the fear Isaiah felt when he beheld a glimpse of God’s glory. He cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). He fell in prostration before the Lord because he understood the gravity of his sin and the greatness of God’s holiness. It is the awe Peter felt when he witnessed the boundless power of Christ: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8b). It is the fear that the first church experienced when they watched God slay Ananias and Sapphira for telling a little white lie: “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things” (Acts 5:11).

Such fear is the essence of wisdom—indeed, it is the very first step toward living wisely. As Solomon said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7a). This is because fearing God is a mentality that understands both the foolishness of living in sin and the worthiness of living in obedience. That’s why Solomon also said, “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:17). A life of fearing God is truly the best life you can live: “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm” (Proverbs 19:23).

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

For more devotional entries like this, check out Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features 100 daily devotionals gleaned from God’s word:

Knowing God | Bible Gleanings – October 1-2, 2022

It is indisputably evident that we are living during a time that may be nicknamed “the age of knowledge.” More information is accessible and can be dispensed quicker than ever before thanks to numerous technological advances. And our pile of accumulated knowledge grows higher every day. According to an article on Linkedin, our collection of knowledge is, “doubling every 12 hours [when] the doubling rate used to be 25 years in 1945.” Ancient civilizations would certainly be envious of our busting bookshelves, teeming universities, and instant access to breaking news.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that while our world has more information at its disposal than ever before in history, it is woefully lacking in the knowledge that matters most: a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:4). Our society knows everything except for the God who made everything (Gen. 1:1). The world knows all the nooks and crannies of every subject conceivable in the mind, but does not know the God whose mind is infinite (1 John 3:20). And thus, the Lord counsels in Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Knowing God is eternally significant. The Scripture is incontrovertibly clear that no one can be saved apart from knowing God. “And this is eternal life,” said Jesus, “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Moreover, many people will be cast from God’s eternal presence for not knowing God. Jesus warned, “On that day [of judgment] many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:22-23).

Do you know God? And, if you do know God, are you leading others to know Him, too?

“Jesus, O Jesus,

Do you know Him today?

You can’t turn Him away.

O Jesus, O Jesus,

Without Him, how lost I would be!” — Mylon R. LeFevre, “Without Him.”

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

He Knows | Bible Gleanings – July 9-10, 2022

He glanced at the x-ray and said, “It’s not good, Mr. Bramlett, but we can fix it.” According to the verdict of my dentist, I had significantly more dental issues than I had suspected. I visited the dentist because of pain in my upper left jaw, but I quickly discovered that I was in for a lot more pain. Extensive examinations and x-rays revealed problems I could not identify or detect, such as cavities, tooth decay, and two wisdom teeth stacked upon each other (a rare occurrence). The truth was truly a kick in the teeth.

But thank goodness I trusted the professionals. Orthodontists possess the experience, expertise, and equipment that I do not. What I know about teeth is as scarce as hen’s teeth! Placing myself under their care was certainly daunting because I feared that they would find and expose problems I was oblivious to, but it was the right decision because only they had the tools to fix them. Knowing that they knew more than I knew was simultaneously frightening and comforting.

Now, sink your teeth in this: God knows you better than you know yourself. He is the all-knowing Creator whose “understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5). He needs no counsel, instruction, or schooling (Isaiah 40:13-14). Your knowledge is limited; His is limitless. And His understanding of your sins and struggles is greater than yours. 

The omniscience of God is terrifying. His vision is more precise than an x-ray, because His eyes “are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). Nothing is a secret to Him, and He knows exactly who you are behind closed doors. His penetrating sight burns through all masks of pretense and falsehood (Revelation 1:14). As God Himself once asked, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24). 

But His all-knowingness is also greatly encouraging, for no one knows what you need better than He does. As Jesus promised, “For your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8b). You may think you need more money, and God may grant you more contentment. You may believe that God should take your pain away, but He may instead give you more grace to endure it. You might pray that God would cleanse your tongue of cursing, and He might instead cool the burning rage in your heart.

When you entrust yourself to the Lord, He will reveal problems you were previously unaware of. But you can be certain that He has all the grace and power required to repair them. Expect Him to convict you of sin and tell you, “This is not good.” But don’t be discouraged; He will always say, “But I can fix it.”

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

The Need for Studying Theology, a Guest Post by Michael Chadwick

Before I dive into the subject of why theological study is crucial for the Christian, I would really like to address something important. When you read the title of this post, you may have had certain doubts. You might have had one of these reactions: Theology? I don’t want to lose the simplicity of faith! Won’t I substitute thought for action? I mean, theology has caused divisions – theology uses big words, and it just complicates communication. Isn’t theology all based on speculation, and doesn’t theology major on minor truths? 

If you had a reaction similar to this, you’re not alone. You see, a large number of people in the church, unfortunately try to avoid theology and all that goes along with it like avoiding some plague. Most people have strong doubts about theology – but let me encourage you by saying that theology is not a bad thing. In fact, if theology is done with the right motive, it is a most glorious thing. With that said, let’s dive in deeper into why we should study theology and why it is definitely a good thing.

First of all, what is theology? Theology, in its literal translation is the study of God. The meaning of the word comes from two separate words: Theo (meaning God) and ology (meaning study). Essentially, theology is the study of God. Henry Clarence Thiessen gives us an even better way to understand the definition of theology, saying that “we may define theology as the science of God and His relations to the universe.”¹ Why is this? Why is theology the science of God and how He relates to the universe? Because in Christian theology, you have to include many different doctrines. Throughout years of study, we now include every Christian doctrine to this idea of theology. Doctrines such as:

  • the doctrine of revelation (the study of how God reveals Himself to us, etc.)
  • the doctrine of God (this includes His nature, His attributes, His decrees, His works, etc.)
  • the doctrine of humanity (this includes our nature, and our relationship to both sin and a holy God)
  • the doctrine of Christ (includes both the person and the work of Christ)
  • the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (includes both the person and the work of the Holy Spirit)
  • the doctrine of salvation (how it is that we are saved, what does that entail, etc.)
  • the doctrine of the church (how is the church to be led, what is the purpose of the church, etc.)
  • the doctrine of last things (consummation and what will happen when we die)

This was far from a complete list, but it definitely gives a good overview of what we consider to be theology today. It’s not just one idea, or a few scattered ideas – it is a science – the science of God. Theology is important because it deals with every day Christian life, as you can see clearly from the list above.

Why should we study theology? There are four main reasons why it should be important for Christians to study theology. So why should we sit down and enjoy studying theology?

1. Study Theology Because the Bible Teaches That Theology is Important

The first reason is because the Bible teaches us that theology is important. Look at Hosea 4:1-6:

“Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, and also the fish of the sea disappear. Yet let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof; for you people are like those who contend with the priest. So you will stumble by day, and the prophet also will stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest, since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (NASB).

In the beginning verse, God tells the people of Israel that there is a case against them – because on top of many other things, there was no knowledge of God in the land. And this is an essential part of theology. We as theological students try to learn more and more about our God. We need the right knowledge of God as Christians. This passage from Hosea calls us to pursue that knowledge, and it does so through one of its many warnings found in verse 6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest, since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” If God is unchangeable (which is one of His many attributes), then He can do the same thing to us. We can be spiritually destroyed and reap the consequences without knowledge of God. We as Christians, as God’s people, need to have knowledge about God. Also, similar instruction is found in Malachi 2:7, “for the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.” In the local church, your pastor(s), deacons, elders, Sunday school teachers, or any other persons in leadership roles should help you in your personal study of the knowledge of God. This study is what we call theology. So first we see that the Bible teaches that study of theology is important.

2. Study Theology Because Jesus Demonstrated That Theology is Important

Secondly, we should study theology because Jesus demonstrated that theology is important. Let us look at Matthew 16:13-16:

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (NASB)

What is pictured in this passage is that they are walking in a line and Jesus goes to each disciple individually and asks these questions. When it says that Jesus was asking the disciples, it has the action of beginning to ask and kept asking. Finally, after he got through all of the disciples, he got to Peter. And Peter said that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. The point: Jesus wanted to know what people were saying about Him. By doing this, He was demonstrating that theology is important to Him. If we cannot answer this fundamental question right, then we cannot dive further into theology, for if we have an answer any different than Peter’s, anything else we say is as flawed as the “wisdom” of this world.

3. Study Theology Because it is Important for Discipleship

Thirdly, to be a disciple we need to study theology. Remember, if we cannot answer who Jesus is correctly, we cannot begin to go anywhere else in Scripture. To be a true disciple of Christ, we have to know what Christ says, does, and thinks. The only way we can figure this out is by reading our Bibles and by studying theology. We need theology to help us in our walk with God. We need theology to be better ambassadors for Him. The Christian life may start out with a “blind” and simple faith, but God does not want us to stay there. God wants you and I to grow in our faith. God wants us to learn more about Him, and as we do we will be growing disciples.

4. Study Theology Because the Early Church Demonstrated That Theology is Important

Last, the early church demonstrated that theology is important. The early church had to rely on sound theology to safeguard against the all-too-frequent heresies that came about. Many of the major heresies really started after the apostle John died. Soon after his death was when Gnosticism was on its rise. This heresy affected people’s understanding of the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of God, and the doctrine of humanity. If you ever decide to research Gnosticism, you will see that its impact was so sever that we are still trying to recover from this heresy. On a similar note, you even have to be careful when studying the heresies! Make sure you have a very solid foundation on the Bible before you work through those. There were many other heresies that came about that compelled the early Church to rely completely on sound theology. And that demonstrates the need for studying it.

Conclusion: Study Theology for the Glory of God

As I said in the introduction, if you study theology with the right motive, then it is a most glorious thing. Since we know why we should study theology, then we need to find out what the right motive is for studying theology. So what is this right motive? The answer to that is really the answer to why we do anything. We as Christians do everything to bring praise, honor, and glory to our sovereign King. That is always the end goal in everything that we do. Our motive for studying theology is no different. We study theology for God’s glory. If our motive is anything other than to learn more about our Creator, and to grow in our relationship with Him, then we are wrong and need to desperately repent. There are many who study theology so that they can answer all the questions, and be the smartest person in the room – quite plainly, that is wrong. They need to repent because it is clear that God is displeased with that. Truthfully, they would be better off not studying theology in the first place. So before starting to study theology, ask yourself why you are doing this. If the answer is not so that you can grow in order to glorify God, then wait until you can answer that way.

  1. Thiessen, Henry C. Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006), 1-2.
13716047_10153790694491547_9032896755713306761_nMichael Chadwick is the pastor of Jensen Baptist Church in Pineville, Kentucky. He and his wife Kari live in Pineville, where they both study at the acclaimed Clear Creek Baptist Bible College.