“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is”
(Ephesians 5:17 NKJV)
we can understand the Bible by fervently studying every day
- A basic rule of Bible study is to pay attention to any passage that begins with “therefore”: we should look to see what it is there for. It opens the door to the context.
- Our present context calls us to cautious (Ephesians 5:14), careful living (Ephesians 5:15), and urges us to make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16).
- None of this is possible without wisdom. “Do not be unwise” pulls us away from the world’s senseless pattern of ignorance, indifference, and immorality, and into the Lord’s will.
- The opposite of “unwise” is “understanding” the New Testament. Learning Christ (Ephesians 4:20) enables us to leave our former vain and mindless conduct (Ephesians 4:17-19). We value repentance (see Ephesians 4:25-31). We replace selfish desires with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32).
- It is important for us to realize what this verse is saying: we can understand the will of the Lord! “Be not unwise, but understand…” is a command to do what some say we cannot do. This passage actually repeats what Paul says earlier. “…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” – Ephesians 3:3-4.
- Some assert that if we could really understand the Bible, everyone would reach the same conclusions. Since this does not always happen, the problem must be with God’s poor writing skills. This is not only blasphemous, but bogus. In Genesis 3, Eve came to a different conclusion from God, not because God’s instructions were unclear, but because she listened to satan instead of God. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). “Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). The Sadducees stayed in error because they did not know the Scripture nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29).
- Some live in the worldly pursuits of profit, pleasure, and self-pleasing. Christians pursue the will of the Lord. We pray after Christ: ‘not my will, but Yours.’ He is our sacrifice, our Savior, and our standard. Let us understand His will, let us live in His will, and let us rejoice in Him.
Fervently study the Bible every day. This is the only way to understand God’s will.
– Rick Duggin