"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," Hosea 4'6.
"I know whom I have believed". These words of certainty convey to every Believer the confidence to say the same as the man who first said them, Paul the apostle:
"... I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day," 2 Timothy 1'12.
Believers through the centuries have said it, and Believers today can also say "I know".
Years earlier than when Paul spoke about knowing, Jesus had spoken about Believers knowing God, knowing Him and about eternal life:
"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent," John 17'1-3.
But how does an unbeliever receive this eternal life that leads to knowing God? The answer lies in receiving a gift! But what is the gift and how is it received?
The first step is to recognise that every person's basic situation is the same. Romans 3'23 and 6'23 explain:
"... there is no difference; all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".
"... the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord".
The gift is offered to every sinner who repents, believes and receives Jesus. To receive Him is to receive the gift.
Paul speaks of the gift this way: "This is a faithful saying ... Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief," 1 Timothy 1'15.
Knowings are understandings (sometimes called "revelations") that come by the Holy Spirit from Christ's New Covenant Kingdom word.
He gives the certainty that keeps God's People safe, victorious and in the place where the He can move in their lives.
DO YOU NOT KNOW?
On the other hand, the word of Christ has some strong exhortations about not knowing. For instance, Romans 6'3 asks directly:
"... do you not know that as many of us as were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into His death?"
Or concern is expressed about Believers' ignorance, such as 1 Corinthians 12'1:
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant."
Our heavenly Father wants His People to be a truly knowing people to know Him, to know His will and to know His ways.
KNOWING THE BIBLE
Having the Bible readily available in printed and digital forms can be something that is taken for granted and make it seem ordinary. Not so! It's different.
That difference is the reason why faithful and persevering Believers in the past translated, produced and preserved it in spite of horrendous persecutions and difficulties.
And why did they go through all that? Because it's the only living and powerful Word of God. And all true Believers are thankful to them!
The word bible comes from the Greek word biblia, meaning "books". They form a library like no other; one that brings man into contact with his Creator.
Quotes are made from it, usually unknowingly, in unbelievers' conversations. Its general influence on the world is still felt, though also often unknowingly.
The Bible, from Genesis 1'1 to Revelation 22'21, conveys understandings of the truths of creational, spiritual, historical, prophetical and more.
In His earthly ministry, Jesus was preparing His Disciples for the New Covenant and Kingdom to come with the Holy Spirit's arrival.
He told His disciples that, after He had ascended, the Holy Spirit would come and guide them into all truth (John 16'13). That began after His arrival on the Day of Pentecost.
As kingdom scribes they recorded the earthly life and ministry of the Lord (commonly called the "gospels") and the lives of His People (the "letters") and The Revelation.
Together the Gospels, the Letters and The Revelation comprise the New Testament.
The two-fold Bible of Old Testament Scriptures and New Testament Scriptures is interlinked, interdependent and united.
It is what Paul was referring to when he spoke to the Elders of the Ephesian Believers:
"I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God (Acts 20'27).
And it is counsel that does not change:
"God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel ..." Hebrews 6'17.
Note that God's counsel is "to the heirs of promise". The plural "heirs" indicates that God's counsel is to be read in the context of a Believer being part of a local Body of Christ.
Be wary of any individual, or group, who claim to know the whole counsel of God exclusively. Be suspicious if someone offers to seek God's will on your behalf. Don't accept!
Or if any such individual or group claims to be led by the Spirit into all truth. They are out of order.
The Spirit led God's chosen scribes in the years following. Now His Ekklesia, and the world, have the New Covenant-Testament.
Today a new Believer is faced with a number of Bible translations and paraphrases. It should be remembered that authors of paraphrases do have biases.
Nevertheless, they can be useful at times for giving an every day English rendering.
The New King James translation (published by Thomas Nelson) is used for these Kingdom Inheritance Today messages.
It states that the New Testament is "based on the traditional text of the Greek-speaking churches". The translation method is a straightforward method called "essentially literal".
Being set out in verse form, the NKJ is easier to memories for most Believers which is very worthwhile.
A KNOWING DISPOSITION
The way a Believer approaches the Bible makes all the difference to knowing the word of Christ and growing in their faith.
Interestingly, there's a certain church service in which a churchman leads a procession holding the Bible above his head. Presumably, it symbolised two things:
That the Bible is the Word of God and therefore it is above all other "words".
That the man standing under it is surrendered and submitted to it.
"Standing under" is a useful description of the way to approach the Bible. It's about approaching the Bible with an attitude of open mindedness and acceptance - humility.
The opposite disposition of standing over is the common one for those who put their own opinions above God's word.
When they refer to Biblical things it's more often than not out of ignorance, inaccuracy or distortion. Misquoting is common.
Some others who "stand over" profess to believe in Christ. But they also holding to various "interpretations", such as Church denominational teachings, theological viewpoints, or they are persuaded by academic or "scientific" influences, all of which alter God's Word.
In the Old Testament, God's people of faith approached the Scriptures with this godly standing under disposition (see Hebrews 11).
Jesus revealed His godly disposition throughout His earthly ministry (Matthew 1'1 to Acts 1'8). Later on Paul, Peter, John and the other New Covenant scribes did the same.
Consequently, those scribes proclaimed that:
"Scripture ... never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," 2 Peter 1'21.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," 2 Timothy 3'16.
"... faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," Romans 10'17.
Today a Believer's godly disposition is towards the word of Christ in the first instance. This is because it reveals the New Covenant Kingdom of God. The rest of God's word opens up from there.
To understand God's word, stand under it!
Certainty is at the heart of the Lord's Good News message. He leaves His People in no doubt. Knowing equals certainty - and vice versa!
Here's a truly awesome example:
"... this is the testimony that
God has given us eternal life,
and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life;
he who does not have the Son of God does not have life," 1 John 5'11-12.
And here's another:
"... knowing this, that our old man (old nature) was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin," Romans 6'6.
And yet another:
"And whatever you do, do it heartily,
knowing that from the Lord
you will receive the reward of the inheritance;
for you serve the Lord Christ," Colossians 3'23-24.
Praise the Lord for the wonderful assurance of the word of Christ.
KNOWING WITH LOVE
Simply knowing for knowing's sake is not God's way it only inflates the ego with pride. As 1 Corinthians 8'1 says in three words :
"Knowledge puffs up ..."!
In contrast the sentence continues by saying, "... but love edifies". How wonderful is that!
There can be no place for a Believer to be proud or "puffed up". Love edifies! In Christ it does wonders for others - and yourself.
Hear this piece of reality:
"... what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" 1 Corinthians 4'7.
Now hear the Believers' godly disposition:
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God," 2 Corinthians 3'5.
Let's remember that Jesus said: “... without Me you can do nothing" John 15'5.
The Holy Spirit encourages God's People to gain this kind of knowledge:
"... grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Peter 3'18.
This is the love-knowledge which builds up and strengthens others up as well as ourselves.
HEARING AND KNOWING 1
Some Jews at Berea are often commended to new Believers for their example of their godly disposition. Some studies for new Believer are called "Berean".
The Jews referred to were members of the Jewish synagogue in Berea. They were deeply challenged by Paul's teaching because it went to the very heart of their Judaism.
Using the Old Testament scriptures He was showing them that Jesus of Nazareth, who they knew had lived in Israel, was their Messiah, the One prophesied, the Anointed One.
As opposed to Jews in Thessalonica their disposition was remarkable:
"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica
in that they received the word
with all readiness of mind,
and searched the scriptures daily,
whether these things were so,” Acts 17'11.
The point is, they did not reject Paul's teaching out of hand. Their attitude was to first receive it.
Then searched their Hebrew scriptures, which they would have known well. In the urgency of his crucial challenge they did searched daily.
Being fair-minded, having all readiness of mind and even receiving the word does not necessarily lessen the challenge that the word of Christ often brings.
Nevertheless the next verse says:
"Therefore many of them believed and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men".
Jesus said more than once: "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:23). These Bereans were willing to "stand under" the word of Christ.
In addition to them there were Gentiles, men and woman, who witnessed it all and believed.
HEARING AND KNOWING 2
Motivation is critical to knowing. What a person wants to do is their reason for doing it and that points to motivation.
He hinted at motivation when He referred to a Believer's manner of praying. Like Him, their desire will be: "your will be done" (Matthew 6'10).
It emerged from a remark made some Jews when He attended a Feast of Tabernacles:
"Jesus went up into the temple and taught.
And the Jews marveled, saying, 'How does this Man know letters, having never studied?'
Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me'.
If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority," John 7'14-17.
Believers who desire to do God's will can know by the Spirit that Christ's New Covenant Kingdom word is not of man but of God.
An extreme example this is Paul who was later to be an apostle of Christ. He desperately wanted to do the will of God and thought that by hunting and imprisoning People of The Way he actually was.
Jesus drastically intervened in his life and redirected him. His experience goes to show that the Holy Spirit will redirect all who want to follow Jesus.
Jesus wanted to do the Father's will even at the age of 12: (“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2'49).
To those who want to do the same He says:
"... whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother," Mark 3'35.
1 Corinthians 2'12 says:
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God".
The early Saints heard, believed, knew and grew in Christ against the background of national culture, family influences and pressures of daily life.
KNOWING AND DIVIDING
"... be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," 2 Timothy 2'15.
Paul sent this exhortation and encouragement to Timothy. He is confident that his "true son in the faith" will be encouraged and do it.
This exhortation-encouragement is for Saints of every generation, especially Kingdom Elders.
So what is rightly dividing the word of truth?
Interestingly the Greek word for "rightly dividing", orthotomeo, is used only once in the New Testament.
According to Strong's Concordance it simply means "to cut straight"; from two words orthos (straight, not crooked) and tomoteros (sharp).
However, "cutting straight" the word of truth would have been something Timothy was familiar with because he was told to:
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching," 2 Timothy 4'2.
He would have known that:
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2 Timothy 3'16.
He could divide the word of truth because he knew it. He would have heard his "spiritual father" Paul saying, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Colossians 3'16).
Knowing the word of truth meant he could divide and minister it truthfully - straightly. (For more click "Hear Him!" on the Menu.)
KNOWING AND SPEAKING
Our Father knows more than anyone else that words have great power to affect people's lives. Therefore, those who speak to His People are privileged.
That's why Peter makes this clear:
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.
If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies,
that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 4'11.
He says speaking, ministering and doing everything else has to be with the ability which God supplies - in Jesus' name and for God's glory. However, there is are at least two warnings:
"So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty," James 2'12.
"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment, James 3'1.
When Believers are motivated by the desire to do the will of God their confession will be:
"We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification," 2 Corinthians 12'19.
I KNOW THAT I KNOW!"
How is it that a Believer can simply say about being saved, 'I know that I know"? Where does this great assurance come from?
How about these Believers?
"By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts ...," Hebrews 11'4.
Even Job proclaimed:
"I know that my Redeemer lives. And He shall stand at last on the earth. And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God whom I shall see for myself," Job 19'25-27.
The answer for Believers' knowing lies here:
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God," Romans 8'16.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for such certainty that your Saints need not be ashamed but can confidently say "I know whom I have believed".
In Jesus' name. Amen.