Knowledge Precedes Obedience

"Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy statutes; And I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law; Yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” (Psalm 119:33-34)

It goes without saying that obedience to God's Word is impossible for those who are unaware of what it has to say. Aside from the basic law of God which is written in the heart (Rom. 2:15), the "special revelation" from God that is found in Scripture must be intentionally studied before it can be obeyed (Rom. 10:14-17). Simply put, conformity to the image of Christ does not happen by accident; it is always the result of the Holy Spirit's work in the life of a believer (Gal. 5:22-23), as well as the believer's own diligence in studying the Word of God and doing his best to be a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only (Jam. 1:22). I believe this principle of knowledge preceding obedience goes a long way in explaining our culture's obvious downward spiral into sin, and its general disinterest in spiritual things. To put it bluntly, most Americans are Biblically illiterate. Here are a few statistics I came across recently that I believe illustrate this point:

  • Fewer than half of all adults can name all four Gospels.
  • 60% of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments.
  • 12% of adults believe Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.
  • More than 50% of graduating high school seniors believe Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.

As alarming as these numbers are, what's even more distressing is that professing Christians did little better when asked many of the same questions. While 82% of all Americans believe "God helps those who help themselves" is a Bible verse, those who identified themselves as born-again believers did better by just 1%. The problem isn't just that most people are unable to name more than two or three of Jesus' disciples; it's that the Christians of our society are often unable to shed any light on these issues themselves. This is where systematic Scripture memorization comes into play. The wisdom of Proverbs must be mined for by actually reading and memorizing those invaluable passages. The comfort of the Psalms and the Gospel of the New Testament must be purposefully studied before their value can begin to be understood. Just as Paul said that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17), Christian obedience is only possible to the extent that we are aware of what God has to say - information that can only be found in the Scriptures, and that can only be constantly retained through memorization.



  • Its so important to ask him for understanding in our situations Thanks Breda x
    • Breda, Thanks for stopping by, and for commenting! I'm reminded of James 1:5, which contains a promise I'm frequently encouraged by: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. "

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