17th March 2011

Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Daniel 12:4 (NKJV)

Whatever you may think about prophecy and where we are in it, that’s one prediction that has come to pass with a vengeance.

And it all comes so easy for us these days. A little while ago I offered a congregation a vague quote from George Santayana. I used the familiar words that so often appear: “Those who refuse to learn the lessons of the past are destined to repeat them.” Challenged a few days later by email, it dawned on me that I was doing what so many do—that is, rely on others to tell me what someone actually had said or done.

I thought I’d better check up. Thanks to the web these days it’s quite easy, although you do need to be selective. Wikipedia might not be the best source, for example. The actual quote I find comes from his monumental work “The Life of Reason”, volume 1, section: ‘Continuity necessary in progress’, and reads as follows: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Come to think of it, most of us are just like that concerning the Bible. We think we know what it says; in fact often we’re very sure we know what it says. But we’ve never actually looked into the book for ourselves. Dangerous that! You might be surprised if you did. An awful lot of what people believe about Christianity doesn’t come first-hand from the Bible.

Update: I’ve just had another email ping into my inbox about that quote. Not a Santayana original this man says, but something a British politician once said. Will you tell him, or shall I?

Most merciful Father, why is it that we are so prone to accept what we haven’t proven for ourselves but have been told by others? One lesson we should pass on to all generations is this: always check out important matters for yourself. And thank you that you have made that so easy today when we all have access to innumerable translations of the Bible, even online via the worldwide web.

Study by John Stettaford 

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