From Professor Jonathan Pennington at Southern Seminary. This is part of the charge Jonathan gives to beginning Ph.D. students at Southern.
“Knowing well entails listening to trusted authorities and doing what they prescribe in order to see what they are showing you.” (Scripture’s Knowing, by Dru Johnson p.16)
There is much insight to be unpacked in this singular and salutary sentence:
It is possible to know lots of things but know them wrongly as opposed to knowing them well.
- Knowing entails listening to another – reminiscent of the Apostle James’ reminder that we should be quick to listen, not quick to be teachers; we may also recall the popular adage many a parent has spoken to a verbose child – “God gave us two ears and one mouth; use them proportionally.”
- Knowing is a process of listening to trusted authorities – there are people who are above us in knowledge, experience, wisdom, position, and authority and only the fool spurns this. Rather, listening to trusted authorities is the way of wisdom and flourishing.
- Knowing entails doing – one can read manuals and watch How To YouTube videos all day long but to truly know and understand something, whether it be boomerang throwing, carburetor repair, having children, or writing a book, requires the experience of doing it before one can be said to truly know.
- Knowing is really about seeing, about seeing the world in a certain way.