Have you ever gotten unsolicited advice from someone without experience? Have you ever had a boss try to tell you how to do your job, even though he has never actually done it himself? Have you ever thought you knew something and realized how little you actually understood until you had to put it into practice? Or have you ever thought you couldn’t do something until you tried?
“Thinking is not knowing.” —Portuguese proverb
One particular time in my life comes to mind when the subject of ‘knowing’ versus knowing comes up. Through some assumptions, gossip and hearsay, lies were being told about me. When someone did actually talk to me, they became aware of what was true, and they were embarrassed at having believed what was not true, which brings to mind the quote by Oscar Wilde, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” That is when I fully understood John 7:51, which says, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” Nicodemus had asked it of the Pharisees who were judging Jesus without ever having spoken to Him. And although I fail at times, I try to talk to a person directly to get to the truth when I’ve heard something questionable, because I know what it’s like to wish people would talk to me instead of believing what someone else has told them. Until I experienced it, I only thought I understood.
“A book gives knowledge, but it is life that gives understanding.” —Yiddish proverb
“Experience is the best teacher.” —Belgian proverb
“What is a Greek’s way of saying they have knowledge? A Greek will tell you they have knowledge when they theoretically understand something. Hebrews says, “No, that’s not knowledge. Knowledge is when you know how to do something and you’re actually doing it.” And Jesus spoke to the Hebrew mind. See, learning about Jesus and going deeper with Him is not learning more facts about God. That’s why we got so many… that know so much Scripture but are mean as snakes. They know doctrine, they know theology, but it hadn’t moved from [the head] to [the heart].” —Steve Cobb, pastor in Can’t Get No Satisfaction
“To know and to act are one and the same.” —Samurai proverb
In John 7:17 when Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself,” He was basically challenging the naysayers to put the teaching into practice, then they would know it was truly from God.
“Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.” —Arabian proverb
“You never know what you can do till you try.” —American proverb
January 22nd, 2014 at 2:59 am
Rene, How do you know a person is talking what is true? How to discern?
January 22nd, 2014 at 9:05 am
It definitely takes discernment, which can also come through experience. Have you ever seen the TV show “Lie to Me”? It was on years ago, but the basic premise was that our body language, especially our faces show micro-expressions that reveal whether we are telling the truth, lying, distressed, etc. Some people are good liars, so it isn’t always easy to know.
January 22nd, 2014 at 10:10 am
Oh, I never seen the tv show “Lie to Me”. Yes, it isn’t easy to know. Do you mean the discernment comes through experience in relationship with others?
January 22nd, 2014 at 2:29 pm
Yes, although there is a spiritual gift of discernment, we are all given the ability to discern and to mature in it more and more through experience.
January 23rd, 2014 at 9:38 am
Oh I see. Rene, thank you
January 22nd, 2014 at 10:49 am
I think Pastor Steven Cobb is right when he says head knowledge is not heart knowledge and the heart is what God looks at. Jer.17: 10 I the LORD search the heart, I examine the thoughts, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. There are many people with a head full of knowledge but no common sense. I love the Portuguese proverb: thinking is not knowing. – In the Bible James has a similar saying that saying is not doing. James 1: 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:24 For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. As for believing a lie without all of the facts – one should remember that a hurtful word cannot be retracted once it is set free.
January 22nd, 2014 at 2:30 pm
True. What a fitting passage. Thank you, Randell! 😀
January 22nd, 2014 at 1:29 pm
Great wisdom here, Rene. Reminds me of a verse in Proverbs (18:13)
“Spouting off before listening to the facts
is both shameful and foolish.” NLT
January 22nd, 2014 at 2:30 pm
Yes! What a fitting proverb! Thank you, Sue! 😀
January 23rd, 2014 at 3:54 pm
I have met, in my 50 years, a lot of very stupid smart people! It becomes obvious, in conversing with them, that their intelligence extends from books only, and not from life. Conversely, I have met only a few smart stupid people, whose teacher was life.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt”. However! At the expense of sounding like a fool, “The only stupid question is the one not asked”.
January 23rd, 2014 at 7:15 pm
Yes! Book smart but no common sense, or full of common sense but not learn-ed. Thank you, witewrabit. 😀
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May 17th, 2014 at 12:40 am
I liked your comparison between Greek and Hebrew thinking. Hebrew is very concrete. If you asked King David if he’d eve had an anxiety attack he’d look at you like you had 4 heads. But if you gave him all the SYMPTOMS of anxiety, he’d nod and say, “Oh yes, I wrote about it in Psalm 32”. Unfortunately we follow a western/Greek system of learning and deal in abstracts. So many times we tend to know OF God without KNOWING Him. Thus, He continually brings things into our lives causing us to draw near and get to know our Father intimately.
May 17th, 2014 at 6:47 am
Thank you, Scott! 🙂