We have many things much better than our Christian forbearers. We have umpteen volumes of biblical scholarship, much of it available to the merest layman. We have thousands more biblical manuscripts, again many available for anyone’s perusal. Translations of the bible in scads of languages, almost too many in some. And let us not forget how morally advanced we are over our forbearers.
If you believe that, you’re a modern Gnostic. “Knowledge will save me.” “Knowledge makes me a better Christian.” And so on.
Except Christianity isn’t about knowledge.
Mat 7:21-23 NET. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. (22) On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ (23) Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’
Mat 25:10-12 NET. But while they had gone to buy it, the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went inside with him to the wedding banquet. Then the door was shut. (11) Later, the other virgins came too, saying, ‘Lord, lord! Let us in!’ (12) But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you!’
Luk 13:25-27 NET. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and start to knock on the door and beg him, ‘Lord, let us in!’ But he will answer you, ‘I don’t know where you come from.’ (26) Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ (27) But he will reply, ‘I don’t know where you come from! Go away from me, all you evildoers!’
Joh 14:6-7 NET. Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (7) If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.
1Co 8:2-3 NET. If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know. (3) But if someone loves God, he is known by God.
2Co 2:14-16 NET. But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. (15) For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing — (16) to the latter an odor from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
Gal 4:8-9 NET. Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. (9) But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless basic forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
Christianity is about relationship. God and I. You and me. Us and them. And it’s quite possible to have a great relationship with someone and not be a “scholar” of anything. Relationship is what counts in eternity, not knowledge.
Remember this next time you look at that less educated fellow in the church pew across from you. Take it into account when you want to turn up your nose at our Christian predecessors. It can only improve your relationships with God and mankind.