When I was 19, I thought I knew everything. Now, I often feel that I know nothing. That’s probably a good thing because, as Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” We know very little compared to how much we could know, and much of what we think we know is either incorrect or only partially correct. We may be very knowledgeable in certain areas but usually we know very little or nothing about most other subjects.
However, our lack of knowledge isn’t our biggest problem. What makes most of us “ignorant” is that we think we know quite a lot, and we believe that those who don’t share our opinions are the ones who are “ignorant.”
I read once in the New Age Magazine that we don’t know anything. When you think about it, that’s basically true. I “know” that I will awake from my sleep tomorrow morning, but I don’t know that for certain. Heaven forbid, I might die during the night. Years ago, the “experts” told us that hemorrhoids were caused by too much sitting. Now they tell us that they are caused by not eating enough fiber. Who knows what they will tell us in 20 years. I “know” that my birth date is April 8, 1962. But, who knows for certain? I might have been born on 11:58 p.m. on April 7, but the nurse may have recorded the birth time as 12:03 a.m., April 8.
Jesus made it clear that the prostitutes were in less danger of damnation than the Pharisees (Matthew 21:31) because, I think, the prostitutes knew they were sinners while the Pharisees believed that they were righteous. Those who believe they “know it all” or “know all they need to know” are ignorant of their own ignorance and are usually blind to their own sinfulness and need for God. Have you ever tried arguing with people like that? It doesn’t seem to matter how “convincing” your argument is or how patient you are, you will usually not alter their opinions, even one little bit. But aren’t we all like the Pharisees, at least to some extent?
Where then can we get great knowledge and wisdom? It is relatively simple to gain knowledge, especially in this digital age. We can “Google” any subject we want to learn more about. Gaining wisdom, however, can be much more difficult. Others may help make us wiser, or not. Experience may make us wiser or it may make us more foolish. Reading books may help or hinder us. Solomon, it is said, was the wisest man who ever lived. Where did he go to gain wisdom? He went to the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).