“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)
Have you ever heard the saying, “Ignorance is bliss”? Sometimes people make this statement in a joking manner to free themselves from responsibilities. Some choose to be ignorant in certain jobs because they do not want any added pressure that goes along with having knowledge of particular things. Some are ignorant because they do not care; they do not care about learning when they are children, they do not care about receiving an education when they are young adults, and they do not care to learn anything new when they become older. Martin Luther King Jr. stated: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” There are many verses in the Bible that warn about the dangers of being ignorant, but how many takes heed to the warnings we are given?
The word “ignorance” is defined as “destitute of knowledge; uninstructed or uninformed; untaught; unenlightened”. There are thirteen passages in the New Testament containing the word “ignorant”. Paul would write on several occasions that he “would not have you to be ignorant”. Paul did not want the brethren to be ignorant of his intentions to come to Rome (Rom. 1:13), ignorant of the mystery (the Gospel; Rom. 11:25), not ignorant concerning spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1), and not ignorant of the second coming of Christ (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The Old Testament is filled with passages concerning ignorance. People were commanded to make atonement for sins committed out of ignorance (Lev. 5:15). The Israelites were placed into Egyptian bondage because there was a Pharaoh that did not know Joseph (Exodus 1). The children of Israel served Baalim which led to the dark times found in the book of Judges because there was a generation after Joshua that did not know God (Judges 2:7-11). Under the Old Law the people were commanded to teach their children to avoid ignorance (Deut. 6:4-7). Under the Law of Christ, we are commanded to teach our children, “bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
Ignorance can be sinful and fatal. If one was to eat something that was poisonous, although they did not know it was poisonous, it could be fatal. Some have tried to encounter animals in the wild, not knowing of the dangers of doing such, and have been attacked by these animals, and sometimes these encounters have been fatal. There are many that choose to be ignorant of God’s Word, not knowing what God would have them to do, which leads to eternal destruction in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30). When we examine 2 Peter 3:3-11, we read that God does not want us to be ignorant of the promises given to us, and would have us to be filled with the knowledge of His Word and do those things that are necessary to be saved. Those that are ignorant of God’s Word will have to face the vengeance of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:8). We cannot choose to be ignorant of the Gospel and hope our ignorance will save us on the Day of Judgement; doing so will leave us hopeless and helpless.
There are two ways to prevent ignorance. Just as Hosea 4:6 speaks of those that were destroyed because of a lack of knowledge, we do not have to be destroyed, spiritually, because of ignorance. If we want to prevent ignorance we must study the Scriptures. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Another way to avoid ignorance is humility. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, therefore we are encouraged to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift us up (James 4:6-10). There are times when we need to humbly admit that we do not know everything, and submit to the wisdom of God found within His Word.
There are two ways to promote ignorance. We can promote ignorance by laziness. “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason” (Proverbs 26:16). There are many that are ignorant of God’s Word simply because they do not try to study the Scriptures. The second way to promote ignorance is closely related to laziness which is procrastination. Many put off studying the Scriptures, putting off spending precious time with the words that are God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Laziness and procrastination have caused far too many to be ignorant of God’s Word which is sinful and fatal.
Ignorance of the Scriptures is fatal. We will not be able to claim ignorance as an excuse of the Judgment Day. God will take vengeance of those that do not know and do not obey the Gospel (2 Thess. 1:8), but He desires that everyone repent (2 Peter 3:9) and has given His Word in order that we be instructed in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). Let us not be ignorant of God’s Word, but humbly commit ourselves to studying the Scriptures!