Zeal and Knowledge
by Jacob Hudgins
“For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge”(Rom 10:2)
The Jews of Paul’s day had a passion for God, but they failed to understand His will. “For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness”(Rom 10:3). These two attributes—zeal and knowledge—help us to break down all people into four categories.
Some have no zeal and no knowledge. They don’t know and they don’t care. They may have a passion for many other things—cars, shopping, music—but God doesn’t make the cut. As a result, spiritual discussion and Bible teaching are so tedious to them that they’ll get angry with those who try to help them.
Some have zeal but no knowledge. These are the Jews of our text—and countless other well-meaning people who passionately believe something that is wrong. Paul wrote of his days in Judaism: “as to zeal, a persecutor of the church”(Phil 3:6). He was going a thousand miles an hour in the wrong direction.
Some have knowledge but no zeal. They have the information, but it triggers no enthusiasm in them. “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth”(Rev 3:16). This group shows us that simply mastering the facts of the gospel and doctrinal truth is not enough. God wants us to care!
Some have knowledge and zeal. Apollos was a man “fervent in spirit”(Acts 18:25), but with incomplete knowledge. Yet when he learned “the way of God more accurately”(Acts 18:26), he “powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus”(Acts 18:28). God can use those who have both knowledge and zeal in a powerful way.
Where do you fit? Do you know God’s truth? Do you care about God’s things?