“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.”
When I think about examples in the Bible regarding knowledge, I tend to think of four different kinds of people. To start our list, we will begin with the Old Testament and move our way forward.
Rahab was a prostitute and lived in a city called Jericho. This city was the first that needed to be destroyed as the people of God entered into their promised land after 40 years of wandering in the desert. Joshua, being a good leader, sent spies into the city of Jericho to scope out what was waiting for them. The people of Jericho were scared of the Israelites because they had heard about what God had done for them since they left Egypt. Naturally, the people of Jericho would not have wanted to see Jewish spies in their city, so they began chasing them.
The spies found a hiding place in Rahab’s home. She took them in, hid them, and helped them escape. She is counted as my first knowledgeable person, not because of her degrees or pedigrees, but because she knew how the battle would ultimately end. She helped the spies, was saved when Jericho fell and is remembered even to this day. This, I call common knowledge. Knowing what is bound to happen, accepting it as truth, and trusting God with the outcome.
- King Solomon
Though he is known as the wise king, wisdom often finds its roots in knowledge. Unlike Rahab, Solomon grew up in royalty. He had the best education of his day, and when the time came for God to bestow a gift upon him, Solomon knew what he needed to be a good ruler: wisdom. He was so wise that everyone from commoners to kings (and queens) went to him just to hear him speak and judge his people.
Solomon had the pedigree of success and used it properly. In the end, though, his wisdom and knowledge were ignored and he ultimately fell. This type of knowledge is what I call learned knowledge. Solomon knew what was right, and for a long time, he successfully acted on his wisdom. But, in the end, Solomon is known as the man who split the kingdom.
- The Apostle Peter
Peter was a fisherman. I imagine him as a blue-collared worker who smelled like fish all day long; think of a Jewish waterman. Peter knew his trade, and everything was rolling along like normal until a man called Jesus showed up and called him to become a fisher of men, and a rock upon which to build His church.
After Pentecost, Peter and John got into some trouble for healing a man at the Temple. They were brought in front of the Sanhedrin (the ruling council of that day) and made to account for their actions. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in a manner that astounded the teachers of the law.
These men had walked with Jesus for years before this event, meaning although Peter did not have the pedigree of knowledge, he did earn a degree of sorts by being Jesus’ follower. The most important thing to note from the scripture is that it says “the Holy Spirit came upon them”. I call this kind of knowledge inspired knowledge, and we can’t possess this knowledge without the Holy Spirit speaking it in us.
- The Apostle Paul
Finally, we get to the man who wrote more of the New Testament than any other. Paul was like others in the Bible when we met them for the first time. He went by a different name, Saul, and was a known persecutor of the church. He went from town to town finding Christians, rounding them up and bringing them back to Jerusalem for trial.
Saul of Tarsus (as he is known in scripture) was schooled more than any other Jew. He studied under a great teacher and earned the respect of everyone in the Jewish leadership. He was also a Roman citizen, which was a big deal during that day.
Saul had the pedigree and the degree, but during one trip to Damascus he encountered Christ who showed him that all he knew was wrong. Saul had been persecuting God’s church. Later, Saul became known as Paul in Scripture, and his reputation changed into who we know as Paul the Apostle.
I call this kind of knowledge transformational knowledge. God revealed Himself to Paul and transformed him from a persecutor of the church into arguably one of the greatest apostles known in the church. God transformed Saul from a man with worldly knowledge in the Jewish traditions into a man who revealed God through his letters and teachings, which later became a significant part of the New Testament Scripture.
Do you see yourself in one of these four people? Allow God to work in your common sense and your learned knowledge. Allow the Holy Spirit to inspire you. Allow Him room to transform your mind!