1 Corinthians 12:1 KJV Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
Ignorant: An interesting word since it has carried such negative connotations as someone being stupid or foolish.
The Greek word for ignorant is agnoeō, (ag-no-eh'-o) and means "not knowing due to lack of information or intelligence. To not know, not understand, or be unknown.
The ESV Translation gives a better view of this Scripture in light of the definition of ignorance.
1 Corinthians 12:1 ESV Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.
I was raised in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia in a small town of 250 and did not see indoor plumbing until I was 13 years old. We don't know what we don't know. I was aware of and use to a pump outside that always needed priming and an outhouse on the far end of the property.
We heated the house with a wood stove in the living room and cooked on a wood stove in the kitchen. I was going to the mountains with my dad and grandfather every Saturday to cut firewood. We don't know what we don't know. I didn't know anything about other ways people used to heat or cool their homes.
I was not aware of central air and heat. I was unaware of oil furnaces. I bathed in a small foot tub after the water was heated on the wood stove and poured into the tub. We don't know what we don't know. I wasn't aware of bathtubs or showers.
I was 18 years old before I ordered and ate in a restaurant. We don't know what we don't know. I was not aware of how to go into a restaurant and place a order.
Why do I share this? I was unaware and unknowing of indoor plumbing, toilets, bathtubs, showers, central heat and air conditioning. It's not that these things did not exist, they just did not exist in my thinking. All the people around me in our little town of 250 all had the same thing. Having central air and heat and indoor plumbing did not exist in my mind because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
At age 13 my family moved to a larger town of 2,000 people, and we had indoor plumbing and central heating. I remember standing in the bathroom with the rest of my family flushing the toilet and running the water in the tub totally fascinated. I wondered, “Where did the water come from and where did it go?”
I didn't understand everything about these new luxuries, but I adapted to them quickly. I enjoyed my Saturdays being free because I no longer needed to work in the mountain cutting fire wood.
These new things were only new to me and my siblings. We just didn't know that we didn't know that there were things out there that makes daily life easier.
So it is with the things of God. If we lock ourselves within the walls of what we only currently know, we might miss the things of God that others have known about all along and are enjoying in the fullness.
1 Corinthians 14:38 KJV But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
Paul is saying that if any man professes himself to be a prophet, or a spiritual man, and does not know the teachings of Paul to be the commandments of Christ, he is a very ignorant prophet or ignorant spiritual man.
If a man wants to remain (ignorant), unlearned, uninformed, then Paul says to let him be ignorant: or let him be treated and despised as an ignorant man, and let his ignorance not be a hinderance to anyone else who desires to receive the commandments of Christ.
One of my statements I have used over the last 44 years of ministry is this. If you are not going with me in the Word of God, don't dare stand in my path.
Now, after living in three different Countries and nine different States I have seen things and eaten things that I didn't even know existed when I was 18 years old. However, at age 65 I still don't know what I don't know...therefore I need to always be teachable...God has more for us.