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The Knowledge of God

by David A. DePra

     The knowledge of God in Jesus Christ is central to our Christian

walk. We are to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord

Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18) And Jesus said, "THIS is life eternal,

that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,

whom You have sent." (John 17:3)

     How do we find this Truth, or come to possess the knowledge of

God in Jesus Christ? By study? Through the intellect? By thinking?

There is nothing wrong with study, the intellect, or thinking. These

we must do, and have their proper place in our lives. But we can

NEVER come to know the Truth by reading books and getting

degrees. The knowledge of God in Jesus Christ comes only

through revelation.

     Revelation is a much misunderstood issue. It is difficult for us to

grasp a concept of revelation which does not come to us through

our thinking process. After all, we reason, if it comes in any other

way, we would not even know it came, would we? If we can't think

about it, what good does it do us? How is it real?

     Revelation from God comes first to the heart. But later, as it

begins to unfold, there is a renewing of the mind according to that

Truth we have received. Then we think about it, explain it, and talk

about it. But we didn't get the revelation that way. We EXPRESS it

and MANIFEST it that way.

     Think about it this way: Suppose you were in a dark room, and

could see nothing in it. Then, all of a sudden, the lights came on.

Suppose there were objects in that room which were strange to you.

At first, you could not explain them. But later, once you examined

them, and lived in the room with them, you had a better


     It works like this spiritually with revelation. When God reveals

something to us, it is like the lights coming on. But we don't really

grasp what is going on. We just know "something" is going on. We

know we see something new, but can't really articulate it. Then,

as we move forward in Christ, things become more clear. We are

then able to better sort it out in our thinking, find it confirmed in the

Bible, and perhaps even explain it.

     Notice that thinking and studying did not get us the revelation

from God. No, God gave it to us -- because He saw that we were

ready for it. Then our minds eventually become renewed by this

Truth and we are able to express it through our living, thinking, and


     It is, of course, important to understand that all revelation which

God gives is going to harmonize with the Bible. Once we say

there is such a thing as revelation which need not agree with

scripture, we not only violate scripture itself, but we open the door

to anything people want to claim is from God.

Wise Unto Salvation

     Amazingly, the Bible tells us that we cannot come to the

knowledge of God by merely studying the Bible, let alone other

books about the Bible:

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(II Tim. 3:7)

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and

they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to ME,

that ye might have life. (John 5:39)

     These two passages put things into perspective. It shows that

all the learning in the world cannot insure that we know the TRUTH.

And it shows that it is possible to search the very written Word of

God and yet miss the boat. Jesus says, "Go ahead and search the

scriptures. They are inspired of God. But they cannot IMPART life.

For that you must come to ME."

     Lest this be misunderstood, it seems appropriate here to quote

the best scripture in the Bible which tells us the intended use of

God's inspired Word:

From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to

make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for

doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all

good works. (II Tim. 3:15-17)

     Note the main point here: The scriptures are able to make us

wise UNTO salvation -- but through faith. Not -- the scriptures are

able to save us! That is a big distinction. The Bible is nothing more

than God's tool to point us to Jesus Christ as Saviour so that we

might put our faith in Him. And of course, then once we are saved,

it is wonderful for all of the other things mentioned in that passage

from Timothy.

     There is a very clear difference stated here between searching

the scriptures and coming to Jesus. Did you notice that? One does

not equal the other -- but one LEADS to the other. We do not come

to Christ merely by coming to the Bible. Rather, we must come to

Christ by faith -- which is a personal transaction independent from

Bible study. The Bible study points us in that direction, and then

later gives us admonition and instruction about how to walk in


     Neither can the scripture, in and of themselves, impart to us the

knowledge of God. Rather, they mirror the knowledge of God. In

other words, the scriptures are a written "description" of God and

His purpose. If I do come to know God, and possess the

knowledge of God, it will parallel and agree completely with the

Bible. It MUST. But the knowledge itself isn't just Bible facts or

Bible knowledge. It is a personal knowledge, as one person knows


The Knowledge of God

     Of course, here we see a need to understand what the term,

"knowledge of God" means. It does NOT mean "knowing facts

about the Christian religion." It does NOT mean "knowing the

doctrines which Christians believe about God." It does NOT even

mean "knowing the Bible." "The knowledge of God" is a personal

intimate knowledge of a PERSON, not merely facts about a person.

     If I told you I know George Washington, you would know that I

was incorrect. I cannot know him; he's dead. But I can know facts

about him. It is the same about knowing God. I can know lots of

facts about God -- true facts, too! But it isn't the same as knowing

HIM. The difference between knowing facts about God, and

knowing God is the same difference as knowing facts about George

Washington and knowing George personally. The two are worlds

apart and on completely differing levels.

     This is how the knowledge of God differs from knowing facts

about God. Scripture says we can KNOW Him -- personally and


     As mentioned, this knowledge comes by revelation. But such

revelation to the heart is only possible if God has prepared the

heart. Our part is to yield and surrender. To be willing. That keeps

the heart God prepares OPEN. And as we walk forth in faith and

obedience, God is then able to do a work in us which will enable

our hearts to be receptive to the Truth -- the Truth about Him and

about Jesus -- the true knowledge of God!

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