True Learning



  • What do you do best?
  • Do you use your gifts to benefit others?
  • Do you do everything ‘unto the Lord’?

In Daniel Chapter 1 we read about four men who were very intelligent and capable…

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure-house of his god.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility – young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

Notice that the men were young, clean-shaven and handsome, showed an aptitude for learning, knowledgeable, quick to learn…so they had all the necessary qualities to serve the king of Babylon

Sometimes, we imagine that to serve our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, we’ve got to be equally capable

  • Young
  • Outgoing personality
  • Intelligent
  • Good at exams
  • Quick thinkers
  • And so on…

And it’s certainly useful to possess these attributes.

BUT DOES IT MEAN that we are of less use and worth to God if we don’t have these qualities?

  • If we are old(er)
  • If we are quiet and gentle
  • If we struggled at school
  • If we are slow to catch on to things…


  1. Learning and understanding are gifts from God.
  2. We need to learn truth, not falsehood.
  3. Learning should benefit and encourage you and others.
  4. We learn so that we can love like Jesus loves.

Learning and understanding are gifts from God

  • There’s a difference between knowing and knowing why!

For example, do you know how many husbands Queen Elizabeth the First had? (None)… But do you know why she never married? (She was in love with a married courtier…his wife then died under suspicious circumstances, so there was a scandal! In reality, Elizabeth would have had to marry the king of France or a Spanish nobleman… both avowed enemies of England!)

You may know that the letter v denotes the number five… but do you know why it is used? (The letter v is five after the angle between thumb and index finger… X is made of one v or 5 on top of another)

In the same way, we can know something about God… but fail to understand its implications

  • Only the Holy Spirit can show us the full truth

So knowledge of the Bible is important… but understanding what it means for our lives is much better

And this knowledge is a gift from God… For example, in Daniel Chapter 1 v 17 we read…

To these our young men, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds

  • So we must always give God the glory for our learning and especially for our understanding about how to USE it

We need to learn truth not falsehood

  • Much of what Paul wrote to the churches was about protecting the truth
  • Daniel and his friends were in a tough situation but refused to compromise on the fundamentals of their faith

Paul warns Timothy (2 Timothy 3) to watch out for people who are ‘always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth’

  • You can be highly intelligent but still be a fool about the truth of God
  • The truth of God’s word is not a plaything to be debated and argued over
  • Certainly, we do need to read the Bible carefully and use every avenue to discover more of the mind of Christ…
  • But Paul warns Timothy to avoid pointless discussions about unimportant trivia… instead, “guard the Gospel”

We can sometimes feel helpless when faced with godless people… They seem so confident and assured 

We may falter, but we need to ‘learn of Jesus’… not merely about Him… and what He wants for our lives…

  • Our power comes from the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Spirit
  • When we feel weak and unsure, turn to Him and He will give us the right words to say
  • Even when we feel that a non-Christian has ‘won the argument’, continue to pray and leave the rest to God

Learning should benefit and encourage you and others

Paul writes to the Christians in Rome…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope

  • Spiritual learning is not an academic exercise… it is to discover more about the power of God unto salvation
  • You can pass an exam about the Bible and still live a life of dreary despair, far from God

Jesus said: ‘I have come to give you life in all its fullness

We know the truth that sets us free… free from the consequence of sin… free from guilt… free from fear… free to live the sort of lives that God intended for us

  • And to have hope for today, tomorrow and into eternity

We learn so that we can love like Jesus loves

All the learning and education in the world counts for little if we are not motivated by love for God and for others…

So, whether you consider yourself to be ‘bright’ or ‘not very bright’, if we give back to God the knowledge, gifts and insight He has given to us, He will “fan them into flame” for the benefit of others and His glory

You may not be clever… or pass many exams…

  • You may struggle to understand hard sums or spell words correctly
  • You may find it difficult to grasp everything you read in the Bible…

But you can still be wise… pass God’s test… be spiritually top of the class… and one day hear His “well done, good and faithful servant”



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