In general, “expertise” means the ability to recognize something more quickly and more accurately than others (novices and amateurs) unskilled in the trade.
In any profession, 3 ingredients are simultaneously needed to become an expert:
Time practicing repeatedly
Frequent and logical feedback
Commitment to continuous improvement
The Bible says in:
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)Study to shew thyself approved unto God (continuous practice at recognizing God’s voice and will), a workman that needeth not to be ashamed (real-time feedback), rightly dividing the word of truth (getting better at handling the Truth).
Discipline is necessary, but sheer discipline alone doesn’t make you an expert.
Coaches and mentors are necessary, though alone don’t make you an expert either.
It’s easy to lose expertise. Expertise can be diminished or lost through complacency or a lazy attitude—in a word, pride. Experts, by definition, should be humble. Arrogance is a sign of an expert in decline—ready to be superseded or replaced.
Some professions tend to naturally breed “non-experts,” that is, people who work hard or study a lot, yet don’t produce reliable advice or consistent results, such as:
Political pundits (4-year election cycles don’t give them enough practice at predicting elections),
Stock brokers and hedge fund managers (price charts give them near random feedback in short-time frames, one of the reasons they consistently fail at predicting the best stock picks, and are regularly beaten by the simple S&P500 Index), and
Judges (who get virtually no feedback on their decisions and face no consequences for whether their verdicts were true or accurate, or produced desirable outcomes).
Out of all the professions in the world, the one that needs the highest qualifications is undoubtedly that of a judge. Justice is serious work—the work of God Himself. When God comes, He will come to judge the world for its sins. Being a judge is like being a little “god” on earth. You would want an expert to be your judge, yet the amount of injustices and overt-turned decisions tell us we are frequently being judged by life-long tenured non-experts. No wonder the Bible commands:
Deuteronomy 16:19 (NKJV)“You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.
Other professions tend to naturally breed many “experts,” such as nurses, doctors, engineers and pastors. We get continuous practice and real-time practical feedback. If our decisions hurt people, we know right away. If they help, we know right away.
Over time, rotten apples (non-experts) are cleared out of the basket. Over decades, the cream (experts) rises to the top.
In many cases, you couldn’t tell if a political pundit or judge were an expert at anything (unless they had previously become an expert in another profession). But you can quickly tell if a doctor, architect, tradesman or pastor is an expert at something.
I am an expert in Christianity.
What are you an expert in?