Since our youth, we are instructed to learn and grow in knowledge. Is it possible, at times, this could be a bad thing? I am not saying education and growing in knowledge is necessarily a bad thing, but can it be? I do not advocate avoiding our studies, after all scripture tells us to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,” (1Peter 3:15b) and "study to shew thyself approved unto God." (2 Timothy 2:15a KJV) The bereans searched the scripture daily to see if they were taught the truth. However, how can learning and growing in knowledge be a bad thing? Follow me for a moment on this.
How can knowledge be bad?
When we go back to Genesis, in the Garden of Eden the Bible speaks of two trees by name. One is the “tree of life,” and the other is “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God commanded Adam and Eve saying they could eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. While the "tree of life" was available to them, they choose the "tree of knowledge." They gave up intimacy with God for knowledge. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the tree of knowledge, thus gaining knowledge of good and evil and the separation between God and man resulted.
When I look at my life, how does knowledge affect me in a wrong way? Because of my knowledge I believe I have no need to ask God for His wisdom and guidance, after all, I think, I have the answers. Maybe I sin and cause harm to come upon myself or someone else. Maybe I just flat out make a bonehead decision and pay the consequences for years to come. See, this knowledge props me up with pride, and the results are not good.
When I am out witnessing, some of the hardest people to witness to are the intellectual people. Maybe they have a college degree and are successful in life, but because of their pride and knowledge; they think they have no need for God. Maybe they think they are too smart to believe in a God.
For other examples of how knowledge can be bad, one only needs a quick look at the newspaper for many examples on how people used knowledge for evil. One gains knowledge of something valuable, and then steals it; another may have knowledge of bomb construction, and then use it to kill innocent people. The list goes on and on.
With all these examples of how knowledge can be bad, how then can knowledge be good?
When Jesus asked “who do you say I am,” Peter replied “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13,16-17) Notice the Father gave Peter this knowledge. Jesus goes on to say “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus being the Christ (the Messiah), is the rock which the church is built upon. Jesus is building the church. That means, if I am a Christian, Jesus is building me; I am a part of His church. Jesus is the Rock; He is the Chief Cornerstone. If my knowledge is built on the Rock, it is a mighty thing; my knowledge may be used by God for His good purposes. When I keep my eyes focused on Him and allow Him to build me, I do not become puffed up with pride believing I can accomplish my desires apart from God. My desires may not be God’s desires and my fellowship with Him may be broken, when my knowledge is not built on the Rock. Even our studies apart from the Word of God, say in school, are used by God if our life is built upon the solid foundation, the Rock Jesus Christ. We may use what we learned to obtain a suitable job to raise our families, have the resources to give and support the church. Remember, what is a good thing may become a terrible thing if it is not built upon the solid foundation, Jesus Christ.