A few years ago, a friend of mine who had recently accepted a doctrinal truth was told, “Come on. You’re too smart to believe that,” as if taking the bible at face value somehow made one less intelligent. Have we become “too smart” to accept the truth in God’s word?
Before I go any further, understand that I am not saying intelligence is not useful. Intelligence is a gift from God that glorifies him when used for the right reasons. For example, fortifying our minds with the ability to defend the truth is one way to glorify God with our intellect (1 Pet. 3:15). However, when intelligence leads to doubt in God’s plan, we have become too wise to see outside our own wisdom (1 Cor. 1:18-21).
In Colossians 2:8 we are warned, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” The devil can make you so philosophical you have no concept of truth. Yet this has always been a tactic of Satan. In the very first temptation, the serpent convinced Eve that she was too smart to believe God. For those God has blessed with the ability to reason, the devil can make this strength a weakness by pitting his or her intelligence against God’s (Proverbs 3:5), while they learn and learn, yet never understand God’s will (2 Timothy 3:7).
The bible was written for all men to understand—not only for those with great ingenuity. In fact, the religious champions of scholarship in Jesus’ day were too smart to understand or have any interest in Jesus’ teachings. In Mark 4:12 we find that the reason those who did not receive Christ’s teachings was their prideful heart. They did not want to receive his teachings.
In John 6, the multitude left Jesus because they too could only see through the limited lens of human wisdom. We can only find God’s will if we have the humility to desire and find it. Let us not be too “intelligent” for the truth.