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Knowledge and Understanding

Briefing: Do you know the difference between knowledge and understanding? This is not just about definitions.

Dispatch (Assignment): On a sheet of paper make two columns. Write about the first column, knowledge and above the second column understanding. Take a few of the titles from some of the devotionals of this series and list what you know about that particular topic and how you understand it. Example: Integrity. I know integrity has two definitions, incorruptible and complete or undivided. Through study I now understand that to have integrity, I not only have to be incorruptible but I also have to have a complete and undivided relationship with God.

On the Street: While interviewing for a police job, one of the members of the interview panel asked me for the definition of probable cause. I did not know the textbook definition. I did have a good understanding of what probable cause was. Luckily I was able to explain, by example, what probable cause was.

After being hired, I went to police academy to gain knowledge of the law. After police academy I was put with a field training officer to gain understanding of how to apply my new knowledge. It is important to comprehend the difference between knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:1-22 (NIV), “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair, every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.”

Proverbs 3:13-18 (HCSB), “Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold. She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy.”

Proverbs 8:1-10 (NIV), “Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gate leading into the city, at the entrance, she cries aloud: “To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it. Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,”

Proverbs 9:10 (HCSB), “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.

Proverbs 10:14 (HCSB), “The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of the fool hastens destruction.”

Proverbs 10:23 (HCSB), “As shameful conduct is pleasure for a fool, so wisdom is for a man of understanding.”

Proverbs 11:19 (HCSB), “Genuine righteousness leads to life, but pursuing evil leads to death.”

Proverbs 13:15-16 (NIV), “Good judgment wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction. All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.”

Proverbs 14:6 (HCSB), “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.”

Proverbs 14:18 (HCSB), “The inexperienced inherit foolishness, but the sensible are crowned with knowledge.”

Proverbs 14:29 (NKJV), “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.”

Proverbs 15:2 (HCSB), “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.”

Proverbs 15:7 (HCSB), “The lips of the wise broadcast knowledge, but not so the heart of fools.”

Proverbs 15:14 (NKJV), “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”

Proverbs 16:16 (NIV), “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!”

Proverbs 17:27 (NKJV), “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV), “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.”

Proverbs 18:15 (HCSB), “The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks it.”

Proverbs 19:8 (HCSB), “The one who acquires good sense loves himself; one who safeguards understanding finds success.”

Proverbs 19:27 (HCSB), “If you stop listening to correction, my son, you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

Proverbs 23:12 (NKJV), “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.”

Proverbs 29:19 (NIV), “Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; though they understand, they will not respond.”

Proverbs 24:3-6 (NKJV), “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Proverbs 28:2 (HCSB), “When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures.”

Proverbs 24:30-34 (NIV), “I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”

I can’t think of a better proverb to end this devotional with!

Investigational Resources: Mark 4:12, 12:33, 1 John 5:20

Officer Safety Principle: You have knowledge of this lesson, now pray God will give you understanding so you will be able to act out all you have learned. Then ask Him to give you the wisdom to know when and how to use them.

from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!