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Now, allow me to introduce you to our new series.
We produced a series called “Teach Your Children to Learn.” It’s all about the Christian’s relationship with learning, studying, and the like. During that series I introduced a concept called The Circle of Learning and gave some specific and very practical advice for helping your child perform better in school.
If you’ve never heard that series (or any others I may reference over the course of the show), you can always find links on the episode home page. Just check out today’s description.
So, the series we’re starting today is a continuation of the Teach Your Children to Learn Series. But this material is going to be much broader and applicable to everyone in your family.
Last time we just finished our first series continuation. It was so nice to dig deeper into “A Parent’s 5 Jobs.” And it went so well, I’m really looking forward to this continuing series.
Now, though I will reference details from the original Teach Your Children to Learn Series, I’m not really going to review it or teach it well enough that you won’t need to listen to it. There’s a ton of info that you’ll miss if you don’t listen to the series, so — if you haven’t already heard it, or haven’t heard it in a while — you know what to do.
Anyway, today we’re starting with the first and most foundational segment of The Circle of Learning.
By the way, if you’re a member of the TLP Family, you can log in to the Family Portal and download a free image of The Circle of Learning. It’s a really helpful tool for teaching our kids and reminding them how God created them to learn.
If you’re not already a member of the TLP Family, check out TruthLoveParent.com and click on Community to learn more.
Now, as most of you know, the first segment of The Circle of Learning is Knowledge.
You can’t do anything if you don’t first have information. Collecting facts, experiencing reality, and learning truth is absolutely imperative if we hope to change and grow and mature.
Without being able to process information, we would be no better than instinctual animals. But though it can be argued that some animals with higher brain function seem to be able to store and differentiate between various facts, the very basis of humanity's self-awareness grows from knowledge about ourselves.
Therefore, the most basic element of learning is the acquisition of knowledge.
So, today we’re going to dive back into the book of Proverbs to learn about the Nature of Knowledge, the Source of Knowledge, the People Who Reject Knowledge, the Consequences of Rejecting Knowledge, and — finally — How Your Family Can Aquire Knowledge.
1. The Nature of Knowledge
It’s very important to define our terms. We may think we understand what a word means to us and other people, but it’s desperately important to discover what God intended the word to mean and therefore adopt His understanding.
So, let’s start with the fact that . . .
A. Knowledge is Good.
Proverbs 19:2 says, “It is not good for a person to be without knowledge.”
Many people despise knowledge.
Some hate the process of learning. Some believe that a person with more knowledge is too big for their britches. Others are afraid of certain knowledge believing that learning such knowledge will corrupt the one who learns it.
But knowledge — in and of itself — is good.
And why is it good?
B. Knowledge is Power.
Many attribute Sir Francis Bacon with being the first to say “Knowledge itself is power,” but in Proverbs 24:5 we read, “A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.”
Knowledge increases power — literally it means knowledge strengthens power.
How powerful is knowledge?
Well, in Proverbs 13:16 we read that “Every prudent man acts with knowledge.” It’s impossible to be sensible and shrewd without knowledge.
But consider Proverbs 3:20, “By His knowledge the deeps were broken up And the skies drip with dew.”
God applied His knowledge to the creation of the universe. That’s pretty powerful.
The word “power” in Proverbs 24:5 can refer to might and wealth on one hand or the simple ability to do something.
And that’s what knowledge is. If I don’t know how to add, I’m powerless to understand and use addition. If no one in the world knew how to make an airplane fly, humanity would lose the ability to fly.
“Yes, well, they may not know, but they could figure it out.”
That’s true, but once the Wright Brothers figured out how to make their glider fly, they then knew how to do it.
Humans have the ability to fly around the world today because there are people who know how to fly.
In Romans 10:14 we read, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” The spiritual ability to enter into a saving relationship with God is impossible unless someone teaches us about God, about our sin, and about the salvation offered through Jesus Christ’s substitutionary life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
Knowledge is good because knowledge gives us the ability to do things.
Now, I’m not going to suggest that knowledge is all we need. Of course, the other parts of the circle of learning are necessary as well, but if we lack knowledge, we’ll never be able to understand or use that knowledge.
Therefore, sometimes our family problems — our failure to do and say and think and believe that which pleases the Lord — is often problems of ignorance.
Yes, misunderstanding and rebellion are also huge problems in our families, and both misunderstanding and rebellion require knowledge. But there are problems in each of our lives that are simply a lack of knowledge.
But if we’re afraid of knowledge, or we hate the acquisition of knowledge, or we’ve convinced ourselves that we don’t need more knowledge, we’re lying to ourselves about the nature of knowledge, and we’re literally handicapping ourselves.
I tell my children that the purpose of their schooling is not merely to get a job, earn a degree, or even just to learn more and more facts. The purpose of my kids’ schooling is so that they can be the sharpest tool for the Lord that they can be.
If my kids only have a high school education, there will be ways — in this day and age — that my children will not be able to minister for God. For example, they won’t be able to teach in a Christian university.
But if my children have their doctorates, they can be used by God in a university as well as nearly anywhere else.
I want my God to be able to say of me, Aaron can serve me well by being a husband, father, podcaster, pastor, teacher, counselor, friend, writer, and coach.
It’s not that I personally have to be all of those things. It’s that I want to be able to be used by God in any capacity He may have for me.
Now, I’ve spent a lot of time of this one point because our families absolutely must not have a disdain for knowledge. Knowledge is good because it helps us do what God wants us to do.
Now, because knowledge is good and powerful . . .
C. Knowledge Can Save.
This will be quick point. Proverbs 11:9, “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.”
And Proverbs 28:2 says, “By the transgression of a land many are its princes, But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.”
Every situation in which we find ourselves is a situation that requires us to make a Christ-honoring decision. I’ll either choose to worship God or myself. Therefore, being able to make the right decision will save me from many heartaches, from displeasing my God, and my decision to submit to God will save me from an eternity separated from Him.
This is why . . .
D. Knowledge is Valuable.
Proverbs 8:10, “Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold.”
Proverbs 20:15, “There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.”
Proverbs 24:4, “And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”
Proverbs 14:18, “The naive inherit foolishness, But the sensible are crowned with knowledge.”
Because knowledge is so good, and because it enables us to serve God better, and because it saves us from making bad decisions that can negatively affect every area of our lives, knowledge is far more valuable than money.
Ignorant people win the lottery all of the time, and that money accomplishes absolutely nothing before it’s wasted away.
We need to teach our families that knowledge is to be desired. Our kids need to understand that knowledge is better than cookies, it’s more valuable than trinkets, secular and spiritual education should be an exciting endeavor because every time they’re learning they’re adding to their personal treasure trove.
Once again, I need to remind us that knowledge is not the end all to end all.
One of the biggest mistakes made by many people is the idea that knowledge is all you need. But it’s not. In fact, knowledge and understanding aren’t good enough either. And it will never truly benefit a man if he gains the whole world because he can apply his knowledge and understanding to life if he loses his soul because he didn’t fear the Lord.
The point of this episode isn’t to get us so excited about knowledge that we become collectors of trivia. Trivia comes from the word trivial. Trivia is a collection of disconnected factoids that have very little use in life and don’t require real understanding to appreciate it.
Knowledge for knowledge sake is not the point. But it is the ever-important starting point for the Circle of Learning. We can’t learn without it.
So, since knowledge is good, powerful, saving, and — therefore — valuable, it’s necessary to ask, “Where do I find knowledge?”
During the gold rush, many people believed that traveling to the west would result in riches beyond imagination. They thought that gold nuggets were literally littering the ground.
But when the various wagon trains arrived in the west, they discovered that their lust for gold would be much harder to satiate. Apparently, they needed to know where to look for the gold, and they needed to know how to mine it.
So, we now need to consider . . .
2. The Source of Knowledge
For this point, I’m just going to read a few verses.
Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10, “The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Proverbs 22:12, “The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge.”
Proverbs 22:20-21, “Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge, 21 To make you know the certainty of the words of truth That you may correctly answer him who sent you?”
How is God the source of knowledge?
A. God created us to learn. No human could gain more knowledge without first being created to do so.
B. God capacitates us to learn. God didn’t just wind us up and set us on our life’s path. Every step is empowered by Him. His common grace keeps unbelievers alive and empowers their minds to work, His saving grace empowers people to learn about the mysteries of the Gospel, and His sanctifying grace empowers believers to learn the deep spiritual truths of the Bible.
C. God is the source of all truth. God is the way, the truth, and the life. The sum of His Word is truth. There is no truth that isn’t God’s truth.
This is why absolute truth exists. There is truth, and there are lies. There is right, and there is wrong. Lies are a creation of Satan, but all truth radiates from God.
This is why knowledge is so good and powerful. Lies aren’t knowledge. Lies are falsehoods. When you think you know something, but that something is a lie, you not only don’t possess knowledge, you possess anti-knowledge.
The lie steals from your store of knowledge by convincing you to jettison facts for falsehoods. And in the same way that knowledge is good and powerful, lies are bad and damaging.
And the Bible has a lot to say about people who substitute truth for lies.
3. The People Who Reject Knowledge
Proverbs 1:22, “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?”
Anyone who would take a bar of pure gold and substitute it for a common, ordinary rock is a fool. Only someone bereft of common sense would make such a detrimental decision.
But we do it every day. Children in particular — because they’re born into this world with foolishness knotted up in their hearts — regularly substitute the good and powerful knowledge of God for impotent, destructive lies.
By the way, we have a series called “Parenting a Zombie.” It’s all about how to parent children who hate knowledge. I strongly encourage all parents to listen to that series because all children are born into this world as fools who hate knowledge.
And the Bible also has a lot to say about people who reject knowledge.
4. The Consequences of Rejecting Knowledge
Proverbs 19:27 tells us, “Cease listening, my son, to discipline, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.”
I know this sounds simple — and even a bit redundant — but when you reject knowledge you won’t gain knowledge.
I think we all understand the concept that we don’t know what we don’t know, but have you ever watched a life implode due to this reality?
It’s like a person with cancer who rejects life-saving treatments believing that the unhealthy lifestyle that caused the cancer in the first place would cure her. All it does it quicken her death.
In my years of ministry to at-risk kids and broken families, I’ve watched a heart-breaking number of them cease listening to teaching only to stray more and more from the words of knowledge. And — all the while — they believe they’re smart for rejecting what they’ve heard. They believe they have the answers. Only one day they find that they have destroyed themselves, their kids, and their lives by rejecting the knowledge of God.
Consider Proverbs 1:29-33, “Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord. 30 They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. 32 For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
Now, hopefully, by now you recognize the importance of learning for you and your family. You understand that knowledge is good and powerful and worth having. And you recognize that knowledge flows from God.
As long as you accept the knowledge we’ve discussed today, you’re ready for this last bit of truth.
5. How to Acquire Knowledge
This is our final point for the day — and I appreciate you working through this with me. But we have four short sub-points to understand as we discuss how to acquire knowledge.
Here we go.
A. We need to want knowledge.
Proverbs 2:10, “For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”
Proverbs 12:1, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge.”
Proverbs 15:14, “The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge.”
Proverbs 18:15, “The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
We absolutely must desire knowledge, and we have to teach our kids to value it.
This starts with how we approach knowledge.
Listen, parent, if you are an unteachable person, you’re not only failing God, you’re also teaching your kids to be better fools.
Not only do we owe it to God to be eternal students, we owe it to our kids to teach them how to love learning.
But we also need to teach out kids that . . .
B. We need to work for knowledge.
Proverbs 2:1-5, “My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, 2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God.”
Learning can often be hard work. We need to apply ourselves. We’re not going to just absorb knowledge by sitting brainlessly in a classroom. We need to lean forward, be attentive, and actively work to learn.
Proverbs 5:2, “My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding.”
Proverbs 22:17, “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your mind to my knowledge.”
Proverbs 23:12, “Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge.”
Proverbs 10:14, “Wise men store up knowledge.”
Proverbs 14:6, “A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.”
As we’re going to learn in the following episodes, all the knowledge we gain makes it easier to learn more knowledge. And the better we grow in understanding, wisdom, and the fear of the Lord, the easier it will be to gain more knowledge as well.
It’s good to learn facts, but if we apply ourselves to understanding those facts, it will make it easier to learn more facts.
Now, a person who values learning and is prepared to work for it is going to make some important life choices.
C. We need to reject that which doesn’t give us knowledge.
Proverbs 14:7, “Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.”
This is a huge point we really can’t take the time to discuss today. This point has everything to do with your children’s influences.
Many of our kids are fools because they surround themselves with fools. Their friends, their entertainment, even their teachers are fools. How could we ever expect that our kids were going to become wise surrounded by all of that?
Apparently our kids had at least one more fool influencing them than we realized . . . they had us.
We need to teach our kids to reject everything that lies to them. We don’t have time to be lied to. We need to be learning the things of God; we don’t have time to have our learning stripped away and replaced by lies.
Instead . . .
D. We need to run after that which does provide knowledge.
Proverbs 15:2, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.”
Proverbs 15:7, “The lips of the wise spread knowledge, But the hearts of fools are not so.”
Instead of surrounding ourselves and our kids with fools, we need to be enveloped by wise men and women who will help us learn.
And — here’s our final point for today — if we’re serious about learning everything God has for us . . . we need to run toward discipline.
We just wrapped up another continuing series about A Parent’s 5 Jobs, and in that series we learned that the first two stages of discipline are instruction and reproof.
We and our kids need to run toward instruction.
Proverbs 21:11, “When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.”
Now, there are plenty of children who enjoy school. They love going to church. They appreciate being taught a new skill be a family member, but there’s another really important form of education.
We also need to run toward reproof.
Proverbs 19:25, “Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd, But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.”
It takes a lot of humility and maturity, but a teachable person is thankful when someone tells him he’s wrong. Christ-honoring reproof says, “I know you thought what you did was a good idea, but it was wrong.” It’s providing the knowledge that the individual was functioning off a lie instead of truth.
And when a wise man is reproved, he gains that knowledge; he learns that lesson.
So, that’s the first part of the Circle of Learning.
Knowledge is good, it’s powerful, it saves, and it’s valuable. And this makes sense because it flows from God.
And only a fool would reject learning because only a fool would invite destruction into his life.
But wise people value knowledge. They work for it, and they work hard.
They’re willing to reject everything that’s going to lie to them and surround themselves with that which provides more knowledge . . . even if that means spending time with people who love them enough to tell them they’re wrong.
Listen, our families need more knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge shouldn’t be our highest goal, but it’s the absolutely vital first step.
So, please share this episode with your children. Invite them to learn right along with you, and make sure you share this episode with your pastor, your church friends, and anyone else who has children.
And — if you need some specific assistance in helping your family see the value of knowledge — please contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or give us a call at (828) 423-0894.
I’m really excited about continuing this series with you, and I hope you’ll join us next time as we once again open God’s Word to discover how to parent our children for life and godliness.
To that end, we’ll be discussing “Your Family’s Understanding.”
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