The New Testament provides us with an opportunity to see the religiosity of people of different intellectual levels.
The highest level is represented by Jesus Christ. Not even His personal disciples could comprehend with the mind all the profundity of His Teachings.
The second level is represented by the closest disciples of Jesus, who tried to understand the Teacher and partly succeeded in this.
The next level is people of a high social rank who knew and followed the earthly religious traditions concerning rituals and rules of conduct. But they were not capable of apprehending the living words of God.
And the lowest level is people capable of thinking only according to the following scheme: “They give me — it’s good! They stop giving me — it’s bad!”.
The developed intellect of a person does not imply that the level of ethical development of this person is also high. But ethical self-development is not possible without a developed intellect. Therefore, if we seek spiritual self-realization, we have to work on the intellectual self-development as well.
What contributes to this development? First of all, getting education, various kinds of labor (especially, creative ones), work with books, taking part in theoretical searches. The modern society, highly developed in the scientific and technical aspects, is a very good possibility for applying the mind and developing it.
… The Synodal Translation of the New Testament is far from being perfect. The profound meaning of some statements of Jesus was “cut off” by translators who were incapable of understanding His ideas.
But one error in the translation had a disastrous effect. It is the phrase “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 5:3). Many readers concluded from it that Jesus preaches the intellectual primitivism and parasitism.
But Jesus meant a completely different thing! He spoke about the future blessedness not of panhandling parasites, but of people who renounced striving for material wealth and who did it not due to laziness, drunkenness, or other reasons like this, but due to spiritual creed — “due to spirit” and not “in spirit”.
Those will be blessed in the Kingdom of Heaven who renounced possessing earthly things, renounced seeking earthly wealth because the Heavenly Father will be their Wealth if they dedicated themselves to aspiring for Him. “Do not lay up treasures on the Earth…, but lay up treasures in Heaven… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt 6:19-21), — this is one of the most important postulates of His Teachings.
Regarding wisdom, Jesus taught the following:
“Ignorance ... is the mother of evil in us. Ignorance leads us to death.
“... Those who are in the true knowledge fill themselves with Perfection as the Truth reveals Itself to them.
“… How much more powerful it is than ignorance and errors! It gives us Freedom!
“Logos (Jesus) said, ‘If you know the Truth, it will make you free.’
“Ignorance is slavery. Knowledge is Freedom.
“Seeking the Truth, we discover its seeds within us.” (The Gospel of Philip, 123)
“… Be wise… and simple!…” (The Gospel of Thomas, 39)