The Knowledge of God

by
Scarlett Stough


“Oh, I know him!” The person who said this may only mean they know the person’s face and name, not that they are close friends.

“He really knows his stuff!” This statement declares a particular person is skilled and fully informed in a specific field of study or work.

In a similar way, the New Testament has several Greek words that can be translated into English as “knowledge.” Each Greek word has nuances the Greek reader would have understood. This lesson will focus on the simple meaning of the English word “knowledge” chosen by the translators of the NIV.

When Peter exhorts us to add knowledge to our right conduct, moral excellence, or goodness, he is encouraging us to undertake an investigation, an enquiry by which we seek to know God and spiritual matters more completely. We don’t gain full knowledge the moment we receive the Holy Spirit; we must ask, seek, and knock at God’s door through prayer, Bible study, and thinking through the material using the minds God gave us. (II Peter 1:5-6)

We need to be like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures to find out if the Apostle Paul actually knew what he was talking about. (Acts 17:11)

Once we are convinced that the eyewitnesses recorded in the Gospels and Acts, are truthful and then accept Jesus as the promised Messiah, our Lord and Savior, then we need to go on to increase our knowledge. Knowledge is more than facts. Biblical knowledge includes relationship. Without the relationship (active love toward God and neighbor), the facts are just so much hot air leading to pride. (I Corinthians 8:1-3; 13:1-2; Philippians 3:7-12)

Knowing the facts and memorizing scriptures are worthless unless the knowledge is put into practice. (James 1:22-27; Matthew 7:21-23) Many college subjects have both a theory class and lab work which put the facts you learn to work. God has given us a textbook, the Bible (II Timothy 3:16-17); an instructor, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17); and the laboratory of life to put biblical principles into practice. (I John 2:3-6)

The knowledge we make every effort to increase is one of getting to know God as a close friend (John 15:15), and as a Father we trust and obey. (Romans 8:15) This knowledge includes learning how to conduct ourselves--learning right from wrong. But doing the right thing and avoiding the wrong is not enough. Spiritual knowledge has to include valuing other people, even our enemies, and working toward the peace and well being of everyone we touch in our lives. (I John 4:16-21; Matthew 5:44, 43-48; Philippians 2:4; Hebrews 12:14)

The New Testament has given us the names of a few women who knew the scriptures and Jesus well enough to pass that knowledge on to others. Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, taught Apollos. Eunice and Lois taught Timothy from his infancy. The writer of Proverbs encourages a young man to learn from his mother as well as his father. (Acts 18:24-26; II Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15; Proverbs 1:8-9)

The Apostle Peter wrote his letter to the whole church, not just the pastors and teachers. None of us are exempt from the exhortation “to make every effort to add to our faith…knowledge.” (II Peter 1:1-2, 5; 3:18)

 

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: And to Goodness, Knowledge.

 

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