Knowledge of God.
In his second letter to God’s elect scattered throughout what is now modern Turkey, the Apostle Peter expressed his concern about false teachers. The area in which these Christians lived was a hotbed for philosophies and teachings that challenged their belief in Jesus. Are these concerns still a threat in 2024?
Peter opens his letter with a special blessing, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:2, NKJV). He knew that knowledge of God was key to truth and protection against error—whether it be religious or secular. And it still is!
What is it?
To know or knowledge in Old Testament Hebrew has a wider meaning than in our English language. To know is not to be intellectually informed, but to experience it as part of one’s reality. Divine-human relationships are often expressed in this term. The Lord knew Moses “by name.” (Exod. 33:11, 12, 17)
In the New Testament, the thought continues that knowing God is not simply an intellectual exercise. The difference lies in the fact that knowing God is a response of faith and acceptance of Christ (John 14:7; 17:3)
There is more to be said about the difference between knowing God and having a knowledge of God.
Knowing or Knowledge: What’s the Difference?
The difference between knowing God and knowledge of God is a subtle but deeply important one, touching on the very nature of faith and belief.
- Knowledge of God refers to intellectual understanding and information about God. It can come from studying religious texts, attending sermons, learning about different doctrines and philosophies. You might possess a vast amount of information about God’s attributes, actions, and teachings.
- Knowing God goes beyond mere intellectual knowledge. It’s about a personal relationship and experiential understanding of God. It’s about encountering God in your life, feeling his presence, and having a sense of connection with him. This isn’t achieved solely through information but through practices like prayer, meditation, and living a life guided by faith.
Consider this analogy:
- Knowing about a tree: You might know its species, leaf shape, and how it photosynthesizes. You could even recite poems about trees.
- Knowing a tree: You’ve spent time under its shade, climbed its branches, felt the wind in its leaves. You have a personal connection and understanding beyond textbook knowledge.
Similarly, knowledge of God is like the textbook, while knowing God is like experiencing the tree itself.
Knowing or Knowledge: Which is better?
So, is knowing God better than having a knowledge of God? For me, both are part of the same coin. Each is important in developing a complete and personal reality of God in our life.
Our knowledge of God paves the way to knowing God.
Knowing God creates a deep desire to increase our knowledge of Him.
That being the case, we will continue our study to know more. I leave you with several insights from other notables of the faith who continue their pursuit of the knowledge of God.
“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord” (2 Pet. 1:2, NLT)
The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God. A.W. Tozer
Intimate knowledge of God is possible if we habitually search His Holy Scriptures and translate what we find into obedience. George Mueller
Too many Christians are fighting graduate school sins with grammar school knowledge of God. John Piper
How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into a matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer, and praise to God. J.I. Packer