There is a thought among some people that in order to know about the ills and evils of society one must become knowledgeable about them. Now a certain amount of understanding may very well be a good thing. But others take this to the extreme, so that they end up partaking in sin to understand what it is they and others should avoid. For instance, someone may feel it is necessary to watch a particular movie or TV show or read a particular book or article, rather than read several thoughtful reviews. Another may take this reasoning to the extreme and end up debasing oneself by engaging in all sorts of sinful behavior to become more conversant with the surrounding culture.
However, this type of reasoning is foreign to the Bible. One only has to read the first several chapters of Genesis to see how damaging this kind of knowledge of sin can be. While God knows about sin from outside of it, he is perfect in every way and without sin, Adam and Eve choose to become like God, knowing good and evil, by partaking in sin. This has a destructive effect on the entire human race.
There are also Paul’s closing words to the Christians in Rome. In chapter 16 he urges the church to beware of those who threaten the unity of the church through false teaching. They are to stay away from such people (Romans 16:17). He closes out this admonition with “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (v. 19). According to Paul the kind of things we should concern ourselves with are good things like the doctrines of Scripture, so as to discern false teaching that would lead us to sin. This is what we should be “wise” or knowledgeable about. On the other hand, we are to be “innocent,” that is we don’t know about such things that are evil by practicing and engaging them.
So let us strive to be wise about what is fitting and beneficial to growth in grace and innocent concerning those things that would cause us or others to stumble in our walk with Christ.