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Bible verses about Ignorance
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 41:8

This verse shows Pharaoh dreamed at night, and verse 14 records that Joseph was released from prison in the morning. This interesting contrast implies that while Joseph was in prison, he was in darkness. Metaphorically, the biblical writers use darkness to describe being ignorant of the right way, living in unbelief, and being dangerously subject to wandering, falling, injury, pain, and even death. Proverbs 4:19 says, "The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble."

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Promises Are Sure!


 

Deuteronomy 21:18-21

We can dishonor our parents through stubbornness, mocking, scorning, angrily talking back to them, thievery, and violence. These will eventually be punished by death, shame, disgrace, darkness of understanding (ignorance), and destruction. Through greedy human reasoning, the Pharisees encouraged financial neglect of parents to increase the riches of the treasury, a hypocrisy Jesus condemned (Matthew 15:3-9; Mark 7:6-13).

Martin G. Collins
The Fifth Commandment


 

Psalm 119:33-34

Perhaps above all others, this psalm makes multiple direct connections between the knowledge of God and obedience.

We will grow more profoundly if we learn to study the Bible as if it were written for us individually. It is self-defeating for us to pick and choose favorite scriptures while leaving others entirely alone. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, saying we should live by every word of God. All of it reveals Him—and our nature as well. The more we know of Him and ourselves, the greater the chance of obedience. Ignorance begets irreverence that in turn begets disobedience. Truth believed begets reverence that in turn begets obedience.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sovereignty and Its Fruit: Part Ten


 

Proverbs 29:18

A direct link exists between ignorance of God - either willful or unintentional - and societal breakdown. This is the result of evolution: not a more advanced society with answers to all of life's problems, not a utopia of peaceful coexistence, not a world of highly refined beings who have ascended to the next "plane" of existence, but degeneration. The ultimate result of the theory of evolution - and Satan's intention - is the destruction of humanity and all semblance of order. We are increasingly seeing this breakdown within our schools and universities, on our highways, and in our neighborhoods. Mankind is certainly not evolving into anything better.

David C. Grabbe
What Evolution Really Means


 

Ecclesiastes 11:5

It is likely that "wind" is not properly translated. It should be rendered "spirit," which fits better with the context of verse 5.

"How the bones grow in the womb" is an illustration of how ignorant mankind is regarding even something so close as a child in the womb. Which of us knows when God gives a human being the spirit in man? Is it at conception or when the child takes its first breath? As far as we know, God has not revealed it in His Word. This is similar to Solomon's argument here. He did not know either.

There is much in life that we do not know. There are parts of life in which we must wholly trust God's manifold wisdom and care of each of His creatures because we do not know what He has in mind within His purpose. And His purpose is the key.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and the Feast of Tabernacles (Part 2)


 

Habakkuk 2:1

Notice what the prophet says: "God, I don't understand. It looks like You're doing wrong to Your people. But unlike some, I'm not going to jump to any conclusions. There is something I don't understand, so I'm going to do what You said. You told me to look and watch, and I'm going to do just that. I want to know from You why this is happening. And when You correct my thinking on this, then I'll figure out how I should respond to You."

This is a smart thing to do. When we do not know what is going on, and we have deep questions about how God is handling things, it is wise just to look, watch, and wait. Once we see God's answer, then we can respond. It is dangerous to jump to conclusions with God because His character is perfect. He knows what He is doing. We do not.

God answers Habakkuk, but it is not the answer he wanted. He wanted a straight-forward answer, but God's answer only seems to raise more questions.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Habakkuk


 

Romans 5:14

The offense committed in ignorance or in willful ignorance is just as abominable as one done with knowledge.

David F. Maas
Is All Fair in Love and War?


 

Romans 10:1-3

Interestingly, a commentator writes that "they being ignorant of" (verse 3) could be translated into "for they ignoring," which puts a different sense on Paul's thought. When one is ignorant, he just does not know. Perhaps knowledge was withheld from him. On the other hand, when one ignores knowledge, it is readily available, but he turns his back on it.

Are modern Israelites who celebrate Christmas really deceived? Is the deception so strong that they cannot see it? A self-deceived person is ignoring truth rather than ignorant of it, and if that indeed is Paul's emphasis, it makes this Christmas question much more serious. It means that people are accountable for what they are doing, and therefore, they will pay more for it than if they acted in ignorance.

Most Americans are aware that many of the Christmas traditions have no connection with Christianity. Almost every year, articles on the origins of various Christmas customs appear in the newspapers, especially in the larger cities. The authors of these articles cannot trace any of the "modern" traditions back to the Bible because most of the customs came from pre-Christian traditions in Germany, Norway, Russia, Holland, and other nations. Thus, people cannot claim that such knowledge was withheld from them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism and Presumption (1994)


 

Romans 10:14-17

The word of Christ is what brought us out of the world and that to which we were converted. When we drift away from it, we become confused, and we begin dividing, bickering and fighting among ourselves. The solution is given elsewhere in the Bible: Get back to what brought us together in the first place—the combination of the word of Christ and devotion to Him, to the love that we had at the beginning (Revelation 2:4-5).

Genuine ignorance may be a defense before God, but neglect never is. We need to remember Hebrews 2:3, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" God can forgive ignorance because we cannot believe what we did not know, and even though we may be punished in our ignorance, it is far different from being punished when we know better. Yet, "to whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:48). We are not in ignorance. If we are slipping away, it is because of neglect.

One way we can be unworthy at Passover time (I Corinthians 11:27) is by neglecting or forgetting what we are now. We need to evaluate faith in light of the Passover and the state of our minds and our hearts as we approach it. Moffatt translates Romans 10:17 as, "Faith must come from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the word of Christ." We are saved by grace through faith, and faith comes from knowledge of God and His Word, so the importance of studying His Word, meditating on it, seeking practical applications for our life, cannot be overstated.

Along with obedience, practical application of God's Word is a must if we want to have saving faith. We must check ourselves before Passover to see whether we have passed up or neglected opportunities to make practical use of our faith. This means so much to our attitude, the way we approach life on a daily basis.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Pre-Passover Look


 

1 Corinthians 2:7-8

By using those who killed Christ as an illustration, Paul shows that everyone has been held captive to ignorance of God and His way. God's wisdom was hidden from "the rulers of this age." Had they had it, their minds would have had the material to reach a far different conclusion about what to do about Christ. They would have produced a different result.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

1 Corinthians 2:7

The word "mystery" is not the same as our English usage of the word. "Mystery" to the Greek meant not a puzzle that was difficult to solve, but a secret impossible to penetrate. It was something that was hidden and unintelligible to those who were not initiated, as into a secret society or as into a religion.

Most of you have heard of the mystery religions. What they did was unintelligible to those who were on the outside, but to those who were on the inside, what was being said or enacted in their ritual made clear sense.

This is the idea here: a secret impossible to penetrate, not a puzzle that is difficult to solve. What is crystal clear to those on the inside is unintelligible to those who are on the outside.

In like manner, to those who have received the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit has joined with the spirit in man, adding a dimension to their lives that they previously did not have (I Corinthians 2:11-12). So then, things that are crystal clear to them are unintelligible to those who do not have this added dimension. Thus, Paul says, the things of the Spirit have been revealed by God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

Galatians 1:6-8

Paul penned the book of Galatians because church members in Galatia were turning away from the true gospel and had embraced a false one (Galatians 1:6-7). Early on, Paul had to establish his credentials - that the gospel he preached did not have its source in any man, as Gnostic ideas do, but had come directly from Jesus Christ (verses 11-12). The Galatians were returning to the "weak and beggarly elements" (Galatians 4:9), referring to the demonism they had been involved in prior to their conversion (verse 8). The Gentile Galatians were observing certain days, months, seasons, and years that had nothing to do with God's holy days (verse 10), but were part of a system that elevated rites and ceremonies above the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, even while paying lip service to Christianity.

Paul addresses a philosophy that venerated the Torah - and went so far as to teach that one could be justified by works of the law - but also involved astrology and receiving revelations from angels (Galatians 1:8). Because of the belief that the spirit of a person was trying to get back to heaven, worship of angels and astrology was a common tenet of Gnosticism, since angels and the patterns of stars and planets were believed to hold keys to this spiritual journey. Contrary to popular assumption, Paul does not condemn God's law in Galatians but a corrupt system that was severely affecting the church. That Gnostic system happened to include an emphasis on the Old Covenant at the expense of Jesus Christ's life, death, and teachings.

Gnostic Christians borrowed the idea of redemption through Christ, but rather than believing that He redeemed them from sin, they believed that He would redeem them from matter - that is, from the flesh, which they considered to be inherently evil. At the core of Gnosticism is the belief that knowledge, typically secret knowledge - knowledge from angels, from the stars and planets, from the ancients - was the path to holiness and salvation. They believed that the path of redemption was through knowledge, and that the worst evil was ignorance.

Thus, they did not endeavor to overcome sin but ignorance. If they could just become wise enough, they reasoned, sin would not be a problem because they would be more spiritual than physical. Obviously, they overlooked man's incurably sick heart (Jeremiah 17:9), and the struggle that a person must undertake to overcome it. The Gnostics believed that the solution was found in greater understanding, rather than in a Savior and High Priest who justifies and guides us through a process of sanctification. In essence, Gnostics would rather learn than submit.

What is more, the knowledge that the Gnostics sought always originated in something other than God and His Word. We know that knowledge itself is not the problem. In the Bible, knowledge is generally presented as a good thing. God goes so far as to say that Israel is "destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). However, the knowledge He means is the knowledge of Himself and of His way of life, not knowledge as an end in itself.

In the New Testament, Paul tells the congregation at Rome that Israel has "a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2). Israelites like to think they are serving God, but the way they go about it is contrary to the instructions that God gave them. Jesus Himself says that eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3), by which He means the experience of an intimate relationship with the Father and the Son, something the Gnostics would never accept. They believed that a spiritual and thus pure God would have nothing to do with what they considered to be entirely evil matter and flesh. They did not care that God called His physical creation "good" - even "very good" - for they still saw it as corrupt, a prison from which to be liberated.

David C. Grabbe
Whatever Happened to Gnosticism? Part Two: Defining Gnosticism


 

1 Peter 2:14-15

"Do not render evil for evil, but overcome evil by good." Peter and Paul agree perfectly about our responsibility to government and authority. "Ignorance," incidentally, is a bit more revealing than it appears. It does not indicate ignorance simply because a person does not know, but an ignorance due to obstinacy or a refusal to know. This refers to someone who has set his mind against the truth of God. It suggests that the truth of God was preached in Rome, and the authorities consciously rejected it. They reacted by persecuting Christians.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)


 

Find more Bible verses about Ignorance:
Ignorance {Nave's}
 




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