Saturday, May 09, 2015

What's wrong with "head knowledge"?

I attended church service today and the sermon was based on Colossians 1:9-14, on "Being Filled with the Knowledge of His Will" where Pastor Joshua said this phrase, which I have heard him say several times now: having head knowledge.

It's not that I don't agree with him, but I have another friend of mine warning me against having a head knowledge, especially back when I was still pursuing my Master's degree in Christian Studies, where I focused on Biblical Studies. Even though I did not speak out against her, I remembered being quite frustrated and thinking what's wrong with head knowledge? I have to start somewhere and having the right knowledge in my head is an excellent way to start.

So when I heard Pastor said that again just now, I asked myself again, am I so bad in seeking out head knowledge but with praying and seeking for the Spirit's strength and help in putting it into action no less?

Then I found Tim Challies article:
Head Knowledge = Good.
Heart Knowledge = Good.

Tim said, "I’ve never been too comfortable with this distinction between head knowledge and heart knowledge...We have all heard people speak like this (being all head knowledge and not heart knowledge) and we know what they are getting at. Yet here’s my concern: When we speak in this way, we pit the two kinds of knowledge against one another, with head being the enemy and heart being the friend. It’s like we need to battle the head in order to reach the heart, or like head knowledge is the necessarily evil we need to endure to reach the heart."

Exactly what I thought (though he said it so much better) and I'm glad now that I'm not alone.

He continues, "I believe we need to affirm the importance of believing what is true without disparaging the facts and knowledge necessary to even know what is true. Head knowledge is good; heart knowledge is good. More head knowledge is better than less head knowledge and more heart knowledge is better than less heart knowledge. Head knowledge is good because heart knowledge is impossible without it. Christianity is and must be a faith that involves the mind just as it is and must be a faith that involves the heart. The problem comes when there is a radical disconnect between the two."




  1. I think that many see the delineation in the Proverb's passage that speaks about trusting God with the heart and not leaning on our own understanding.

    That said, I always try to remember that our passion must be to love God with all of our heart and mind.

  2. Another aspect I learn on this, is in practice, I should put love in front of doctrine faithfulness. Often times when I disagree with people, it's doctrine/ head knowledge comes first at the expense of love. I realise Jesus never do that and even apostle Paul said the greatest of all is love above faith and hope. I must admit, having mixed with Calvinistic gang, head knowledge/ having right doctrine must come first at the expense of love. Tatz y Calvinistic friends can be not friendly. Recently, thru meditating on 1Cor 12-14, I have learnt that I have not loved them in the first place, that's why I couldn't get along with those who don't share the same conviction. Tatz y sumtimes they said I have head knowledge, no love.

  3. Good reference there KB, though I would take it as not leaning on my own understanding, rather than a learned understanding from God. But yes to loving him with all our heart, soul and mind. It's loving him with all of our being.

  4. Hi CK, thanks for the sharing. Yea, that is true though I've not seen it that way until now that you talk about it. I find that a lot in a group I'm in and I've kind of distanced myself quite a bit. It's good that you recognized that, I should too, if I sense myself doing that. Thanks for the lesson.