We do not know all things. In the physical realm, not all has been discovered (Proverbs 25:2 cf. Job 38 – 42). In the spiritual realm, not all has been revealed. We do not know when the Lord will return (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 cf. Matthew 24:42-44). We do not fully know the nature of our existence to come (1 John 3:1-2 cf. Philippians 3:20-21). There are secret things. Moses told Israel, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever…” (Deuteronomy 29:29). God is all-knowing (Psalm 139:1-4; Isaiah 40:13-14; 46:9-10; Matthew 12:36), not man (Psalm 139:6; Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:25; 1 John 3:20).
However, we can know what God has revealed to man. Consider: (1) Moses told Israel, “…Those things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29). Moses implied that they could understand God’s revealed will sufficiently enough to do it. (2) It is written of Ezra, “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). Ezra believed that he could understand the law well enough to do it, and to teach it. (3) Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). God’s word is truth (John 17:17). It is knowable. It provides the answer to man’s sin problem (John 8:32 cf. 8:34). (4) Paul wrote to the saints at Ephesus, “…when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4). He believed that his writings could be understood. (5) Peter wrote to some saying, “You have purified your soul in obeying the truth…” (1 Peter 1:22). They had been able to understand it well enough to obey it. (6) Peter exhorted brethren to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). This growth comes by feeding on the word (1 Peter 2:2).
Does it take exceptional intelligence or education to understand, at least on some basic level, God’s Word? I do not believe that it does. (1) God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). Does He desire the impossible? (2) The gospel was (is) to be preached to “every creature” (Mark 16:15). This does not sound like the message was intended for only those who are Mensa members (an organization open for those in the top 2% of I.Q.’s). This does not sound like it was intended for only those with D.D.s, Th.D.s, or Ph.D.s. (3) Mark wrote of those who listened to Jesus, “And the common people heard Him gladly” (Mark 12:37). Vincent’s Word Studies comments on “the common people” saying, “Not indicating a social distinction, but the great mass of people: the crowd at large” (studylight.org). (4) Moses instructed Israel, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Why teach it, if their children were not capable of understanding it, on any level? (5) Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation…” (2 Timothy 3:15). Timothy understood, at least some things from scripture; and he did so from childhood.
A couple of things are needed. (1) It takes will or desire. One needs a will to do His will (John 7:17). One needs to hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). One needs to desire God’s word (1 Peter 2:2; Psalm 1:1-2; 19:7-11). (2) It takes effort (Proverbs 2:1-5). It takes diligent work (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 1:5-8). The wise spend time thinking about God’s word (Psalm 1:1-2; 119:97-100, 147-148).
I have known those whose Biblical knowledge grew rapidly; and, I have known of those whose Biblical knowledge did not grow, or grew little. A new convert, with little familiarity with the Bible at the time of conversion, becomes well-studied and knowledgeable in only a few years. Another, with a similar starting place, shows no or little growth decades later. What is the difference? Many times the answer lies in desire and effort.
While I believe that it is possible to understand God’s revealed will, this does not mean that all will. (1) Some are untaught or ignorant of God’s word (2 Peter 3:16). They do not invest the time and effort (Proverbs 2:1-5). Are we? (2) Some are unstable (2 Peter 3:16 cf. 2:14). They are not grounded firmly enough to withstand false teaching. Are we? (3) Some desire things to be a certain way (Isaiah 30:10; Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11; John 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:6; 4:3; 2 Peter 2:18). One should approach God’s word asking, “What does this mean?” not “What do I want it to mean?” Do we? Let us examine ourselves