Last week I talked about data, information, knowledge, and finally wisdom.
Quick recap – (remember I’m getting the breakdown from Tim Challies book “The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion” but the specific wording is my own)
Data is a letter, word, a short sentence. Completely context-free
Information is putting data together i.e. a paragraph. But it is still context-free
Knowledge is taking a lot of information about a single subject and putting it together. A paper on Africa, a book about elephants for instance. And it FINALLY has a CONTEXT
Wisdom is taking the knowledge you learn and letting it change or influence the way you live. Asking questions about what you’re learning and why help you get to this point. What is the purpose behind what I’m reading?
We live in a society over-flowing with so much information very few of us take the time to learn enough to call it knowledge. Short bursts of information, a few facts devoid of context (and thus history) are all we have time for today. There’s too much information out there for us to take time to become knowledgable about one specific subject. In other words, I’d rather learn a little about a ton, then learn a ton about one thing.
What if this is influencing the way we read the Bible?
Do we view the Bible as one book, a continuous story that is trying to tell me something? Do we actually read the Bible like it’s written down for a purpose with a God-given intention?
What if the point of the Bible isn’t the single stories here and there that serve only to give you quick nuggets of encouragement (for instance – like David, God will help you take down all the giants in your life!). What if the stories are actually woven together bc together they give knowledge and understanding of life, God, and my purpose on this planet. What if they all have a context and that context is the wider theme of the Bible?
Using the same example from above – God is faithful to Israel and the Covenant He has made with them. Therefore, God was able to use a shepherd boy who understood and trusted his God and in his God’s covenantal-faithfulness towards His people. David knew God had to win the battle bc Goliath was blaspheming God and His people. It’s not about David taking down a giant, it’s about God’s name not being blasphemed among the pagans. It’s about God being faithful (again) towards His covenant and His covenantal people and showing why David truly was a man after God’s own heart, and therefore, why he (David) was God’s choice for king over Israel.
That is way more interesting and encouraging in my opinion. But you only get that through time, effort, energy, study, and learning enough information to gain knowledge and context.
Is the Bible context-less? Are the Scriptures random pieces of information simply to help me navigate the waters of life, a self-help book?
Or is the Bible more?
Is it possibly a book about the One True God and His Covenant with His people (Israel) and the Church that has now been grafted into that same Covenant? Is it a book about God’s Son fulfilling part of that Covenant and bringing God’s kingdom to earth in a huge way? And based on that idea – how am I suppose to live today? By following my King.
Do we simply have a lot of information about the Bible or are we taking the time to gain real knowledge? And from that knowledge are we learning wisdom?