Quantity of Knowledge vs. Quality of Understanding

You’ve probably heard the old saying “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.  Although this may be true, there is another idea that we tend to forget.  How much you know doesn’t matter, but the depth of understanding does.

Today, one of my co-workers, stopped me in the hallway and started to talk about what he believes regarding liberals, conservatives and religion.  At first, I didn’t want to have the conversation, however, it became interesting as it appeared that he was open to gaining knowledge and understanding.

He expressed one thought that has stuck with me all night.  He mentioned that he notices that evangelical Christians tend to know a lot of knowledge, but the depth of understanding was greatly lacking.  I tend to agree.

What he expressed is a problem with the current evangelical church and is reflected in our society.  First, today’s evangelical Christian can state the Bible stories like, David and Goliath or Moses and the Exodus, but few can take those stories and apply them to daily life.  In fact, most evangelical Christians that I have met, can only site the stories without showing that they truly understand the meaning of the story.

Most times, when I ask someone why they believe what they heard, the typical answer goes something like this, “Well if this teacher/preacher said it is true, it must be” or “Because that is what my parents taught me”.  Without demeaning any preacher/teacher it is true that they go through a rigorous learning period where they learn Greek and Hebrew while reading the Scriptures.  However, we hear many of those same preachers/teachers share what is clear fallacy when it comes to biblical principles.  We hear things like “you must have faith if you are to be healed” or “without faith (and your giving) you will never get beyond your bills”.  Both of these teachings are clearly false.  (I will get into these teachings in later blogs.)

What my co-worker expressed to me was “I don’t want to hear what you believe.  I already know that.  I want to know why you believe.”  It took a bit of time and not all was discussed, but I was able to clearly define why I believed in the Scriptures.  Why I believed that Jesus claimed to be God.  Why, by historical evidences, Jesus did exist and He was crucified for claiming to be God.

In the end, my co-worker admitted to me that he was not willing to believe the same as I do, but asked if I would be open to reading a book that helped him believe what he believes.  I told him yes.  Why?  If we, as Christians, do not show that we are willing to learn the mindset of others, then most likely, they will ignore what we say and tell others how we don’t live what we believe.

Most Christians are faced with this dilemma, however, we can show the world the love of Christ by simply taking time to study.  Although, we all need to study Scripture, we also need to take some time to learn about biblical history and what others teach, even if it is not what we believe.  If we take the time to do this, then when we come across conversations, as I had today, we will be able to clearly do what Peter stated to various churches including Galatia.  “But in your hearts set apart God as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect….” – 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

It is true that people don’t care what you know until they see you care, but is also true that people know what you believe, they just want to know why.  Study, pray and reason but do it with the gentleness and respect that Christ gave to those around Him.  When we do this, we will show the world Christ cares for them, more than they know.

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