Somewhere along my journey of life, I learned I like to read. I was not yet in my teen years, but in the evenings, I would jump on my old bike and go to the Carnegie Public library. My reading was mostly adventure. There was a certain feeling of fulfillment to sit among the volumes of books. It felt secure and adventurous. In later years in high school and college, I found reading to be a natural part of my life. Through reading, the entire world was at my fingertips. I could travel to exotic places and meet very significant people. Reading challenged and enlarged my world.
I still read and one of the books in my library is entitled “The treasures of Alexandria”. This city lies at the mouth of the Nile river as it empties into the sea. It is full of history. It was established by Alexander the Great of ancient history and became a major city of commerce and education 300-400 years before Christ. The city became famous because of its ports and commerce, its lighthouse which became one of the wonders of the world, and its development of its Academy [education] and Laboratory [science] It became the center of the educational world gathering manuscripts and scrolls from all of the then known worlds. Science studied the universe and laid the foundation for the study of the universe and the earth rotating around the sun. The Septuagint [Greek] version of the Bible was written from this library about 350 years before Christ. The ancient Coptic church had its beginning here, under the leadership of Mark, the author of the second gospel. Apollos mentioned by Paul in his epistles was from Alexandria. The great library in this city was said to hold more information than any other place in the world. It is still a subject of interest and research today. Tragically, it was destroyed by fire, and all was lost.

Education has become the driving force for success in today’s world. Between the academy and the laboratory, education, and science, the world searches for who we are and where we came from. Who you are and what you become may be dependent on these two sources, education and science.

I must remind myself that the Apostle Paul was born and raised in this world of the academy and the laboratory. He was educated by the highest source of wisdom that the Jewish nation had. His native intelligence and his exposure to the academy made him a success very early in his life. But, a bolt of lightning that came from the very throne of God, knocked him to the dust near the ancient city of Damascus, and Paul learned something that the academy could never teach him. He spent three years in the isolation of Arabia, being taught by the Holy Spirit and God Himself. He learned something the academy nor the laboratory could never teach him. Alexandria, with all its academic ability, could never teach the world about God. There must be another source for that.

Paul writes about this in 1 Corinthians 1-2. He asks this question; “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world”? He continues; “for since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe”.

The phrase Paul uses, “…for since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know God…”, makes me ask. “where then do I find this wisdom about God? If it cannot be found in the academy, where then can I find it”?

Paul answers this question in chapter two; “…yet we do speak wisdom…”. He says that if the rulers of this age knew the wisdom of God, they would not have crucified Jesus. In verse 10 he says, “But to us, God has revealed them [wisdom] through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God”.

There are three words that can be used to describe how to receive the wisdom of God. The first is Inspiration. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things are not taught by human wisdom, but are taught by the Spirit…”.There is a process where God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, transmits to us truth that cannot be discovered by man. The knowledge of God will be “freely given” to those who are on a search for God.

The second word is Revelation. “For to us God has revealed them through the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thought of man except for the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God”. The Spirit is the agent of transmission, not the academy. No one knows me better than I know myself. You may think you know me, and know all my physical statistics, but only I know who I really am. Only I can reveal that. The same is true of God. He is revealed to us by the only one who really knows Him…the Spirit of God.

The third word is Illumination. “ But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, be because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ”. To many who have read the Bible, all they see is the historical parts of the Bible. They do not understand it. To them is it is just another book. The truth of the Bible and the truth about God is more than a cognitive exercise. The Bible must be illuminated to me before I can see the truth and come to know God. The Psalmist asked God to “open my eyes that I may see the wonderful things that come from thy law”. Don’t confuse illumination with imagination. Illumination sheds light on the darkness so I can see. Illumination in the Bible is that it sheds light on what cannot be seen with the natural eye. I see God, in all His glory. The page is illuminated so I can see God.

The natural man will always be on a search for wisdom and that is only natural. If that were not so, we would still be living in caves. Wisdom and science are all necessary parts of our culture today. The Library and laboratory will always be there. However, when it comes to searching for God, we find Him through Revelation, Inspiration, and Illumination.

Happy hunting.

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