“Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24). With a loud voice Festus cried out these words as Paul was making his defence before King Agrippa.

Although Paul was not mad, as he patiently explained to Festus, nevertheless it is possible to become “mad” with much learning. Today there are some who seem to worship learning and education as if it was the end instead of merely a means to an end.

Solomon tells us that “much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Eccl 12:12) and surely those students who have sat up all night cramming for an extra exam can attest to this. Few would quarrel with the fact that a good education is a tremendous help in many ways. It is beneficial to learn how to think a problem through, to acquire good study habits, and to learn to do what we ought to do whether we want to do it or not. This, said Huxley, is the primary purpose of education.

But the coin of education has two sides. It is a great pity that most people who are well educated in the wisdom of this world have discarded the Bible as a book of fairy tales and have decided that “God is dead”. Paul, of course, saw that this would happen. He asked “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? … the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men … [but] God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Cor 15:21,25,27).

The scholars of this age have no time for God for they think He has died, if in fact He ever lived. What a surprise is in store for them! The day will soon be here when “the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit” ( Jer 16:19).

We have a great responsibility to teach those who are being subjected to the evil influences of so-called higher learning, that God is NOT dead. Paul instructed a young man he loved, saying, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Tim 6:20-21).

Some today have erred from the faith by believing vain babblings and science falsely so called. True science and the Bible are in perfect harmony. Scientists of a hundred years ago would have ridiculed the Bible had it told men of circling the earth in a matter of minutes yet Daniel did tell us that knowledge would be increased and many shall run to and fro. Today the world is blasé about landing a man on the moon yet cannot accept the simple truth that a literal serpent tempted Eve. Man has become so wise that God’s truths are foolishness to him just as Paul predicted.

It still requires child-like faith to believe in God and for this reason, not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, respond to the call.

Let us be on our guard not to let this godless worldly wisdom creep in and infect us or our children. Unfortunately they are being subjected to it in school, but it is not limited to the schools for we must fight it even from within our own ranks. Again, Paul foresaw the problem and warned us, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).

Let us be on our guard that regardless of how much of this world’s wisdom we may acquire, we never become beside ourselves with much learning so that we may not accept the simple truths of God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa 8:20).