While writing to the Church at Colosse, Paul tells them about his prayers for them. One of the prayer points is that they “may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Colo 1:9. Paul considers it as one of the most important needs of God’s people. He makes such prayers for other believers also. Cf. Eph. 1: 19.
Christians should have the knowledge of God’s will for their lives. In v. 6 we read that Colossians knew of God’s grace. That’s how they got saved. But that’s not enough. They should know what God demands from their life. Here the reference is not to the specific will of God applicable to each individual in a particular situation, but God’s general will applicable to every one in any circumstances.
The word Paul uses for knowledge is not the normal word, but ‘epignosis’ that refers to a ‘super knowledge’. Knowing God and His will is true knowledge. It is this knowledge that leads to our salvation. Cf. John 17:3. But a salvation experience is not enough; we need to grow in our knowledge of God and His will. 2Pet 3:18.
God has revealed His will through the Bible. 2Timothy. 3:16, 17. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” As God has a well – designed path for every area of our life, it is very important for us to know His word thoroughly. Thus we will be sure of God’s will for our life and activities.
Notice the word, “be filled” – not just a shallow knowledge. Our knowledge of the scripture should not be just a vague idea, but a complete and thorough ‘knowledge of His will’ filling our heart and mind. When the Spirit of God fills our heart we are controlled by Spirit. Eph 5:18. Similarly when the knowledge of God’s will is filled in our heart, we shall be controlled by His will for us. That will be perfect, acceptable and pleasing to God. Rom 12:2.
There was a time born again Christians were known for their understanding in the word of God. They were well-versed in the New Testament doctrine. But alas, today many believes do not even know the basic doctrine. They do have an experience of personal salvation, but do not take the effort to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. That’s a very dangerous condition.
The word of God very clearly speaks about the consequences of being ignorant of God’s word. Isaiah says the reason behind Israel’s captivity was their ignorance. “Therefore my people have gone in to captivity, because they have no knowledge.” Isaiah 5:13. Hosea goes further; “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6. In the book of Jeremiah we see the Lord repeatedly laments over Judah, ‘My people do not know’. Jer 5:4; 8:7. In the New Testament we see the Lord saying to the Sadducees, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” Matt 22:29 (KJV)
Yes, ignorance of doctrine is not a simple issue. Not only we make mistake we will lead many others also in to false path and even destruction. That is exactly what taking place in certain places. Many who lead them are ignorant of the New Testament teachings. People just follow them as if everything is right.
Paul’s prayers is valid today, ‘be filled with the knowledge of His will.”. However even knowledge is not enough. Paul adds two more things. Wisdom and Understanding. “You may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Colo 1:9.
Wisdom & Understanding
Wisdom (‘Sophia’) refers to the ‘ability to accumulate and organize principles from scripture’ and regulate conduct accordingly. Understanding (‘sunesis’) is the ‘capacity to apply this wisdom in every situation which demands a moral decision’.
Merely knowing certain biblical facts is not sufficient. We must able to rightly divide the word of truth and bring out principles that govern personal as well as assembly life. Then as the situation arises we must be able to apply it. No wonder David prayed that God may give Solomon wisdom and understanding. 1Chro 22:12. Paul also made similar prayer for Timothy. “May the Lord give you understanding in all things.” 2Timothy 2:7.
Learning various branches of knowledge may make one an intellectual giant. But knowledge alone does not make us spiritual or fit for God’s service. There are even people who studied ‘theology’ for decades yet do not understand the simple gospel truth that saves a sinner. Likewise, many theological ‘doctors’ fail to grasp the New Testament church principles and practices. That’s why Paul prays that believers may have not only knowledge but also wisdom and spiritual understanding.
What shall we do to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding?
Pray & Meditate
To begin with, we need a strong desire to know and do God’s will. Then with prayerful attitude we should meditate upon the word of God on a regular basis. Cf. Jn 7:17; Pro. 2:3; James 1:5. Eph. 1:17; 2Tim 2:7. It is the work of the Sprit of God to open our eyes of understanding as we go through His word. Pro. 2:6. As we familiarize with the word of God, our mind becomes a spiritual mind. The word of God will richly dwell in our heart. This helps the Sprit of God to lead us in to every truth. Cf. Psa 119: 98, 99, 104.
Let the prayer of Apostle Paul be our concern. Let our heart and mind be filled with the knowledge of God’s word. Let us ask the Lord to give us enough wisdom and understanding to grasp the divine truth and live accordingly.