The Excellency of Knowledge

The Excellency of Knowledge

19 Jan 2022

Academic Initiatives for Biblical Literacy - AIBL

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This informal CPD article The Excellency of Knowledge was provided by Wilma J. Brown-Foreman at Academic Initiatives for Biblical Literacy (AIBL), an organization seeking to promote Biblical literacy in both public and private secondary education.

The Excellency of Knowledge

In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Daniel (12:4) speaks of the human desire for knowledge: “…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Human accomplishments and power stem from acquired knowledge. Knowledge produces accomplishments, and accomplishments bring recognition. Combined, knowledge and recognition can lead to influence. Influence means power, and humans love to have control over others. Power gives one the ability to act or produce an effect on other individuals and on society in general.

The Latin aphorism “Knowledge itself is power!” is credited to the English philosopher and political leader Francis Bacon from his Meditationes Sacrae (1597). Thomas Jefferson used the axiom at least four times in his correspondence for the establishment of a state university in Virginia. Both men believed that acquiring and dispensing knowledge is the mainspring of recognition and influence in a society.

One seeks the betterment of our world

Simply gaining knowledge to dominate someone or something, however, should not be the complete academic goal. The excellency of knowledge means that one seeks the betterment of our world. In other words, society prospers when one uses his or her knowledge for the efficacy of humankind as a whole-not just for the sake of oneself. In society, teachers stand in a unique place of making profound impacts on the future based on what students are learn. Henry Brooks Adams said in his "Failure" (1871) that a teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

Now, we can agree that teachers are agents for the preservation of our society predicated on the knowledge that we impart to our students. However, we cannot rest on this premise alone Educators have the responsibility of prioritizing shared knowledge and for setting ethical and moral standards in the minds of children. In fact, teaching timeless principles, truths, values, and strong character needs to be at the forefront of a quality education.

Sandford Reichart asked the right questions in his 1969 Change and the Teacher when he wrote:

With dramatic certainty we who are teachers touch the future with our very presence. It is our individual initiative that can lead the way. And is our touch marked with conviction? Is it punctuated with principles, standards, values that reflect the best in living? Do we know where we are going and does the path we take exemplify character? Are we aware of the fact that what we teach today must mature and develop to flourish as tomorrow's thought? To present today for itself alone is not enough.” ~Sandford Reichart, Change and the Teacher, 1969.

In planning for tomorrow’s success, educators should teach our youth more than just the skills necessary to make a living financially. Ecclesiastes 7: 12-14 says: “For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it (KJV).” Today’s educators and other leaders should seek to instill moral and ethical principles in the minds of our youth as they strive to navigate their precious lives in this confusing, and oftentimes misleading world.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Academic Initiatives for Biblical Literacy, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Academic Initiatives for Biblical Literacy - AIBL

Academic Initiatives for Biblical Literacy - AIBL

For more information from Academic Initiatives for Biblical Literacy - AIBL, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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