I asked my 8-year-old to tell me the difference between knowledge and wisdom. He said, “knowledge is just knowing a bunch of stuff, but wisdom is using that knowledge to make good decisions.”
That reminds me of something James wrote: “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). It would seem the difference is in the application. Knowledge without action is useless.
So, in Acts chapter 24, there’s this story about Felix, a Roman Governor, who hears accusations that some Jews brought against Paul the apostle. He hears some of the details of the case. The indication is that Felix already knew a good deal about Christianity. But he sends for Paul so he can be told more about faith in Christ. The Bible says Felix “was alarmed,” or “trembled” about Paul’s teaching on righteousness, self-control, and the judgment. But here was his final response: “God away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”
The chapter ends by explaining that Felix continued to send for Paul, hoping he might pay him money to be released. And, finally, Felix was succeeded and left Paul in prison.
So, Felix knew a good bit about Jesus and Christianity. He had at least some desire to gain even more knowledge, but his interest never grew to the point of action. He grew in knowledge, but not in faith. When a person is presented with truth, they have a choice about what they do with it. He can believe the truth and let it change his life or he can ignore it. Felix, though he apparently recognized the validity of the gospel message Paul taught, decided he would wait for a more convenient time to act on it. To my knowledge, Felix never became a Christian.
Make no mistake, Felix’s world would have been turned upside down if he’d chosen Christ. It would not have been an easy road. But easy was never promised. Is there knowledge that you could transform into wisdom right now?—Darrell