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"The Know-It-All" - by Rev. Weldon Bares


I have a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica in my office. It is a beautiful set. It makes me feel smarter just looking at it. I find myself looking things up quite often.

Let me tell you about A.J. Jacobs. He decided that he was going to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from cover to cover, the entire set. He purchased the newest edition. The task before him was enormous: 33,000 pages, 65,000 articles, 24,000 images, 9,500 contributors, 32 volumes, 44 million words.

Amazingly, he did what he set out to do, then he wrote a book about his experience of doing it. His book is entitled, “The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World.” His book is really interesting.

Jacobs takes the reader from A to Z, with funny and interesting observations throughout the book, based on his reading.

Obviously, a quest for knowledge is a healthy thing. I respect what A.J. Jacobs was trying to do. But in our own quest for knowledge, we need to remember where it all begins.

While knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing, they are certainly first cousins. The writer of Proverbs in the Old Testament declares: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) Old Testament scholars tell us that a synonym for the word “fear” is the word “respect.”

The New Testament letter of James affirms, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)

May our quest for knowledge and wisdom always begin with God. I don’t know if you will find that in the Encyclopedia Britannica, but it is the truth.

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