Have you ever met anyone who seems to have so much knowledge about either one, or even a variety of subjects, that it is almost intimidating to talk to them? Maybe they are extremely educated in a certain area and hold several degrees, or perhaps they are just avid readers who seem to really soak up information like a sponge.
I’ve spoken with individuals who, even in just simple conversation, use words that I’m not exactly sure what they mean and even less sure how to spell them, even though I myself am educated. What I’m saying is, basically, we all realize that no matter how smart we think we are, there are always people who possess more knowledge about a particular subject than we do.
Well it’s the same way with the study of the Bible. I mean there are many scholars and theologians who have accumulated a vast amount of Bible knowledge. They know seemingly countless facts about the scripture and can answer Bible trivia-type questions with little effort. It can be very impressive the degree with which some have memorized and studied the word of God and retained the information.
But whether or not a person has studied the Bible for years and stored up extensive knowledge, or if a person is a new believer and reading the word for the first time, its never the knowledge you have that will change your life. The change comes when we do what we know to do. It’s the application of knowledge that helps a person live a proper Godly lifestyle in the kingdom of God.
But they leave the church and go right back to living life the way they always have before. I believe too many times Christian pastors have focused on the transfer of knowledge to the congregation, when we should have been focused on the equipping of the congregation to do the work of the ministry.
Ephesians 4:8 says “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men..” This verse tells us that when Jesus Christ the Lord ascended He gave gifts to men. This means that all men, or all mankind, have gifts given to them from the Lord Himself. Hallelujah! That means God has put a gift inside of you that you must discover for yourself. And when you discover your gift, it will lead you to your divine destiny with God.
Think of it like this, at Christmas time there are many presents under the tree. And though you already know those are gifts, you still spend the time and effort to unwrap the gift to see what it is inside. The gifts that God has placed in you are the same way. You must discover your gift so you can use it to fulfill your purpose.
In Ephesians 4:11-12, it says And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. So, some of the gifts He gave are listed here above, and these are what are commonly referred to as the five-fold ministry gifts. These particular gifts are given by God for a very specific purpose of which too many five-fold ministers have overlooked.
Notice it doesn’t say these gifts were given for the “building up of knowledge,” or for “educating the church.” No. It says specifically that these five-fold ministry gifts are for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. To EQUIP does not mean to educate. Education alone will never equip a person.
When a church congregation gains knowledge but does not become equipped, they become hearers only and deceive themselves. Christians who are educated but not equipped will live defeated because the devil will have too much influence in their lives. We live in a culture that has glorified education just for the sake of education. But in the kingdom of God, sometimes education alone can actually hinder your growth.