Information was an irreplaceable component of Jesus’ message. Information alone cannot transform, but every transformation includes information. Certainly, concepts possess no inherent power for initiating change; God’s Spirit, however, working through human hearts, constitutes the irreplaceable element necessary for conversion.
Read John 16:7-14. What is Jesus saying here that helps us to understand how limited intellectual knowledge is, in and of itself, in the understanding and experiencing of true Christianity?
Biblical knowledge coupled together with God’s Divine Spirit forms the spiritual combination that transforms individuals and societies. The disciple-maker must strive for both of these in faith and study.
Christianity highly regards intelligence, thinking, and imagination. The existence of reasoned thought throughout Scripture, the tremendous respect afforded teachers within Judaism, and the priceless attention that scribes devoted to preserving ancient writings all testify to the importance of knowledge.
Christianity is not an irrational faith. Nevertheless, certain elements within Christianity have elevated emotion, feeling, and experience above knowledge. This mindset declares that what people believe is relatively unimportant because experience alone is meaningful. Obedience and adherence to specific truths are deemed relatively unimportant; emotion and religious excitement become the measuring stick for spiritual genuineness.
Scripture’s very existence counters this mindless fascination with experience. Experience without knowledge becomes a supercharged missile without direction. Conversely, knowledge without experience becomes lifeless and oftentimes legalistic. True Christian leaders understood the need to cultivate both of these elements, not only in themselves but in those whom they disciple.
Think through all the good reasons that you have for your faith. At the same time, what role has experience played? Why do we need both?