Ignorance is defined as the state of being ignorant. The word ignorant means: 1. lack of knowledge; uninstructed or uninformed; untaught; unenlightened. 2. uninformed (in) or unaware (of). 3. showing lack of knowledge, education or experience; caused by ignorance; as ignorant remarks. A person untaught or uninformed; one unlettered or unskilled (obs.). Nevertheless, in the United States it is considered insulting to call a person ignorant. This is the result of the popular idea that the word ignorance refers to a lack of intelligence. Actually it does not, but because that idea is so common and dictionaries tend to define words according to popular usage, one dictionary I consulted included the following among the definitions of ignorance which it listed: "resulting from or showing a lack of knowledge or intelligence."
No human being, even the most intelligent among us, knows everything that is knowable. Therefore we all are ignorant regarding some things. I am ignorant regarding many things. One area of my ignorance is how this computer is able to perform the many functions it does, not to mention how rapidly it performs them. Now that it has been made clear this article is not being written to insult anyone, let us go on to the more serious side of this subject.
It can be seen in 1 Corinthians 12:1 and 3 that the Scriptures use the word ignorance to mean lack of knowledge. Paul wrote, "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant" (v. 1). Then in verse 3 he wrote, "Therefore I make known to you...." This also may be observed in Romans 1:13 where Paul wrote, "...I do not want you to be unaware (ignorant - KJV), brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now),...."
The seriousness of ignorance can be seen in Acts 3:14 - 17. Peter said, "...You denied the Holy One and the just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers." Ignorance is so serious that Peter named it a cause of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus.
In the Areopagus on Mars Hill, Paul, having observed the objects of their devotions, spoke to the Athenians regarding "the one whom you worship without knowing" (Acts 17:23). Then in verse 30 he said, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent." There was a time when they worshiped "THE UNKNOWN GOD" and God overlooked their ignorance, but that time has passed. Now "all men everywhere" must "repent." God has commanded us to "repent." Not only are we now to know God, we also are to love God. Jesus said, "...The Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. ...Therefore whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak" (Jn. 12;49 & 50). Then in John 14:15 He said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
Another passage showing the seriousness of ignorance is Romans 10:1 - 3. Paul wrote, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Istael is that they might be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God." Remember that in Romans 1:16 & 17 he previously had written regarding the righteousness of God being revealed in the gospel. It is important to submit to the gospel "for it is the power of God to salvation" (Ro. 1:16).
Ignorance is a cause of sin. In Ephesians 4:17 - 19 Paul wrote, "...You should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
1 Peter 1:13 - 15 "...Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct."
By Fred Shewmaker
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