As we continue our deep theological study and noble quest for insight into the radiant Truth, I think it is important to remember what J.I. Packer writes in Knowing God:

The fact we have to face is this: that if we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject-matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate, and dismiss them as very poor specimens. For, as Paul told the conceited Corinthians, ‘knowledge puffeth up… if any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know’ (1Cor. 8:1 f. RV). To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it. As we saw earlier, there can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge; but it is equally true that there can be no spiritual health with it, if it is sought for the wrong purpose and valued by the wrong standard. In this way, doctrinal study really can become a danger to spiritual life, and we today, no less than the Corinthians of old, need to be on our guard here.

But, say someone, is it not a fact that a love for God’s revealed truth, and a desire to know as much of it as one can, is natural to every person who has been born again? Look at Psalm 119 – ‘teach me thy statutes’; ‘open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law’; ‘O how I love thy law’… ‘give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies’…

Yes, of course it is. But if you look back to Psalm 119 again, you will see that the psalmist’s concern to get knowledge about God was not a theoretical, but a practical concern. His supreme desire was to know and enjoy God Himself, and he valued knowledge about God simply as a means to this end. He wanted to understand God’s truth in order that his heart might respond to it and his life be conformed to it…

And this must be our attitude too. Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God Himself the better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are. As He is the subject of our study, and our helper in it, so He must Himself be the end of it. We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God. It was for this purpose that revelation was given, and it is to this use that we must put it.”

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