MOST OF US will find it a work of supererogation to appeal to the
Scriptures to prove our fragmentary knowledge. No one seriously doubts it, so why insist
upon the fact? The very quoting of this mistranslation is proof enough that we have failed
to grasp the real meaning of the passage, for it does not speak of our knowledge at all,
but the source of it. It is not "we know in part" but "we know out
of an installment." The Greek is ek, out of, not, in. At the
time it was written God's revelation was still unfinished. It was partial. The highest,
the completing truths, had not yet been made known. But now they have been graciously
given to us, in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. As well in brief in Paul's
early epistles. Now, we know out of the whole! The source of our knowledge is not
fragmentary. The Scriptures are complete!
Is it not a great pity that this mistranslation, "we
know in part" should effectually rob us of the marvelous truth that God has graced us
with the whole round of His revelation? The saints of old -- Abraham, David, Daniel, the
twelve apostles -- all had only a partial revelation. Yet to us, sinners of the nations,
though we least deserve it, God has poured out His whole heart. Nothing has been withheld.
And how do we appreciate this? How do we thank Him for it? By perverting it into "we
know in part." We ought to be ashamed of treating His grace in this fashion. Let me
entreat every reader of these lines never to misquote this passage again. I feel badly
every time I hear or read it. How must God feel when, instead of glorying in His
transcendent grace, we twist His words into an excuse for our own ignorance?