Vol.X No.IV Pg.4
June 1973

Do You Know God?

Robert F. Turner

What is it to KNOW the Lord? Most serious students of the Scriptures are aware that there are two words in the Greek for "know", and some interesting distinctions may be seen in Vine's Expository Dictionary or other word-study books. Clearly, there is more to "knowing" the Lord than having knowledge of His existence. Perception and appreciation are advanced stages of "knowing", and God may know or fail to know us, in the sense of approval or disapproval. (See JOH.14:7-9; MAT.7:23; 1JO.2:3-6) One does not really "know" God until he is impelled by the object of his knowledge to conform to, walk or abide in, live a God-like life. All this is taught in the word of God.

The Scriptures also teach that the means of knowing God is -- what else -- the teaching process. (JOH.6:44-45) It is sad that this most obvious truth is ignored by many, and even denied by those who expect some inward experience to bring them into close relationship with God. Jesus said, "Go, teach..." and nothing else will accomplish the end He desires.

In a recent review of Gregory's "Seven Laws of Teaching" I was struck with the likeness of the educator's definition of "knowing", and Bible truths about knowing God. Gregory said, "What men call knowledge is of all degrees, from the first glimpse of truth to the full understanding".

"At different stages the experience of the race, as we acquire it, is characterized by: (1) faint recognition; (2) the ability to recall for ourselves, or to describe in a general way to others, what we have learned: (3) the power readily to explain, prove, illustrate, and apply it; and (4) such knowledge and appreciation of the truth in its deeper significance a n d wider relations that by the force of its importance we act upon it -- our conduct is modified by it. History is history only to him who thus reads and knows it. It is this last form of knowledge, or experience, which must be read into the law of the true teacher." (P.29) My high school geometry teacher told us of an "A" student who climbed a pole, carrying a string by which the length of a needed guy-wire could be determined. The student knew all of the axioms perfectly -- to recite in class. But he did not practice the rule for -determining the hypotenuse of a right triangle -- when a live situation demanded it. He did not, therefore, know the rule. It was not a part of him, readily available and modifying his conduct. The teacher felt that she had failed with that student, and in a sense she had.

Is it not apparent that much of our Bible teaching, and knowledge, is no deeper than the first degree, i.e., "faint recognition". So little of the truth of God has been made our own, it is little wonder we do not know Him as we should. Christ, the bread of life (JOH.6:48-51,63), has scarcely been tasted, much less masticated, and assimilated into our very being. How can we expect God to approve us?

"He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."