The Humility of Genuine Expertise

A few years before Kittyhawk, Lord Kelvin, highly respected scientist and President of the Royal Society of England, proclaimed, “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” Some experts come across with a smug, self-satisfied, got-it-all-figured-out arrogance. Others continue to explore their field with childlike wonder, eagerly seeking new insight and information.  These are delighted to be surprised and frequently humbled by what they have discovered.  Avoid the first type and pay attention to the latter.  It’s much more joyful and interesting, and you will discover they are closer to the truth.

From early days, Saul of Tarsus was schooled in biblical studies by one of the most knowlegable men in the field.  He became a  Pharisee, devoting his life to following all of the laws in the Bible, in careful detail.  Later on, he was personally sought out and converted by the risen Jesus, assigned to carry the good news of salvation far and wide.  His writings to early churches form a large chunk of the New Testament.  His letter to the Romans is considered a masterful explanation of the gospel of grace.  You might expect Saul, then known as the Apostle Paul, to act as though he had it all figured out.

But no.  His expertise made him humble, frequently swept away by the enormity and mystery of the majesty of God.  Like this:


“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”  “Who has ever given to God, that God should  repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”  (Romans 11:33–36 – NIV84)

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