Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (I Corinthians 14:20).
The wise man wrote long ago: With all thy getting get understanding (Proverbs 4:7). However, we need to be sure that the understanding we acquire is not perverted by the spirit of this world. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he emphasized the contrast between a darkened understanding and a spiritually illuminated understanding.
Walk not as other Gentiles walk, he exhorted, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart (Ephesians 4:17,18). A blinded heart produces a darkened understanding.
Paul prayed, rather, that God would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened (Ephesians 1:17,18). We need an understanding enlightened by the Holy Spirit, not darkened by a hardened heart.
By the same token, as our text commands, we should seek to attain a mature understanding of the things of God, not remaining stagnant at the elementary level of understanding. It is dishonoring to the Lord who called us into His family to remain spiritual children. We should exhibit the faith of a little child, and be as free from malice as a little child, but in understanding we must grow! For when . . . ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again . . . the first principles of the oracles of God . . . who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:12,14). Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18). In understanding, be men! HMM