“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” This verse underscores that the mere acquisition and accumulation of facts is insufficient to understand the times in which we live and (with that understanding) to know what to say and how to behave. Paul warns Timothy of this syndrome when he wrote of those who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” According to one online source:
“Buckminster Fuller created the ‘Knowledge Doubling Curve’; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build-out of the ‘internet of things’ will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.”
Whatever the precise rate is, this upward trajectory of information cannot be surprising. Along with the addition of information to the knowledge pool, many see a disturbing pattern of amendment and misrepresentation of what was traditionally accepted. Let the chanting begin! — “Believe nothing! Challenge everything!” This disconnection from the moorings of truth leads us to today’s drift in critical thinking. Steven Spielberg is reported as saying:
“My primary purpose in making Schindler’s List was for education. The Holocaust had been treated as just a footnote in so many textbooks or not mentioned at all. Millions knew little if anything about it. Others tried to deny it happened at all.”
As both our mentor and as our friend, Chuck Missler shared so much of himself — from his wealth of knowledge of the Bible to his considerable understanding of the headlines, to his fascinating network of people and even his several interests and hobbies. He is perhaps best known for saying “The great discovery is that the Bible is a message system: it’s not simply 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years; the Bible is an integrated (message system) which bears evidence of supernatural engineering in every detail!” Dr. Missler shared the following thoughts in a video presented at the 2017 Strategic Perspectives Conference.
The Scripture is designed specifically for you and for me. The answers that we need are right here in the Bible. We can lean on the Bible itself specifically for our learning and our comfort and our encouragement. We need to recognize the end times are going to be characterized by deceit. Co-mingling the Bible with non-biblical sources is a form of contamination and it invites deception. Preoccupation of the end times risks following after information that is not found in the Bible.
We do well to avoid the mere acquisition of knowledge; to resist the capitulation to societal pressure by amending well-established information, and to avoid the contamination of Biblical truth with extra-biblical theory. And yet we are likely to know many people who are all of these – educated, “woke” and fluent in the latest advice from a TV personality or favorite pundit. Countless people appear to be doing fine in this life and this may be the biggest threat to withstanding the falling away – the Apostasy – about which Paul writes to Timothy.
Sin and success share an attraction and a seduction that the believer needs to resist. Peter writes of scoffers in the last days who will pursue their own pleasures and passions while mocking the idea that God is returning or that there is a judgment to come. Peter refers to these as willingly ignorant of God’s past judgment – specifically referring to the Noahic Flood – and offers a warning to his readers. “You, therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” One of the best presentations of this idea is found in Psalm 73 in which the writer pens these words:
Therefore his people return here, and waters of a full cup are drained by them. And they say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?” Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.
If the passage ended there, we would all have a pit in our stomach.
When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.
“Until I went into the sanctuary of God.” The writer found protection from these thoughts and any temptations in God’s presence, worshipping Him, reading His Word and listening to its teachers. Instead of being surrounded by the scoffers and the sinners, understanding came while surrounded by fellow believers and worshippers. The writer of Hebrews encourages this fellowship when he exhorts his readers to “not forsak(e) the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but (to exhort) one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” And along with assembly, I want to remind us of what Chuck called the heavy artillery in the battle – prayer.
It is absolutely incredible that we each have a priority connection directly into the Throne Room of the Universe! It is amazing to realize that this astonishing resource is so available and so rarely used. It is unquestionably the most powerful weapon we could possibly have. And it is the deciding factor in spiritual warfare. (italics in original)
The tools that belong in our Issachar (see 1 Chronicles 12:32) Toolboxes are interspersed throughout the paragraphs above. I am resisting creating a list and I am reminded of Chuck’s admonition when he closed his previously referenced message: “One of the lessons I have drawn on many times is that the Bible is deliberate and designed. Every detail is part of a preplanned package. You cannot take my word for that. You need to discover that yourself. Everything in your life is anticipated if you know where to look.” Such encouragement from a brilliant man!
I am often asked how long it takes to prepare a teaching or a presentation or an article and my answer is typically, “A lifetime!” God placed mentors in my path, teachers within my hearing, failures from which to learn, and challenges from which to grow. The previous words and the several Bible references are a product of five decades of living, loving and learning. Nobody becomes a master cabinet maker by purchasing a few tools. It is by using the tools and by learning the tools and by using the tools that we become skilled. “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” And you have experienced this preparation as well. Over the past many months in my articles, presentations, and courses, I used the Koinonia Institute framework to develop:
Critical Passages (BEREAN)
Critical Thinking (ISSACHAR)
Critical Conversations (KOINONOS)
I like to close my articles with an “ask.” Maybe this is a result of assigning so much homework over the years – a lingering effect of my career as a High School Mathematics teacher. Take an inventory of what is in your toolbox! Re-read this article to find the suggestions I have mentioned throughout its paragraphs. Re-read my previous articles to re-introduce yourself to those tools as well. Reflect on what God has taught you and shown you throughout your walk with Him. And “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know what your toolbox contains and how this (and all of our resources at Koinonia House) have equipped, inspired and protected you from that roaring lion.