“Back in the old town,” Stan commented one morning, “I had a friend who knew more about the Bible than anyone I had ever known. She could run circles around everyone, able to recite verses from memory all day long. I once heard her recite from memory all of one of the apostle Paul’s letters.”
“The whole thing?” I replied. “Wow, that’s great.”
“Not necessarily,” Stan countered.
“Why in the world would you say that?” I asked.
“Because,” Stan replied, “I’m afraid it turned out that my friend knew about the Bible and about God, but it turned out she didn’t know God.”
“Know about, but not know?” I said. “Aren’t you just splitting hairs?”
“Absolutely not,” Stan responded. “There’s a world of difference between knowing God and knowing about Him. It’s all about head knowledge versus heart knowledge.”
“Head verses heart? How so?”
“I think Jesus talked about that,” Stan replied, “when He was talking about eternal life being about knowing Him and God the Father. He specifically mentioned ‘knowing.’ He didn’t say that eternal life is ‘knowing about’ God.”
“Didn’t Jesus also say something to some of the Jewish leaders about this,” I said, “when He scolded them about thinking that they could find eternal life in the Scriptures?”
“You’re right,” Stan replied. “Jesus said that to them right after He told them that they did not have His word abiding in them because they did not believe.”
“So,” I said, “there’s a connection between believing and knowing.”
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And that’s what happened with my friend who knows so much about the Bible. She came to realize she knew a lot about God, but didn’t know Him in a deepening personal relationship.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“She came to an abiding faith,” Stan said, “and she was a fabulous addition to the Kingdom. Not only does she know a lot about the Bible, but she knows Who the Bible is about and is having a powerful impact in using her knowledge to make a difference in the lives and eternal destinations of a lot of people.”
Bible verses to consider:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent. John 17:3.
You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. John 5:39-40.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want me to know you for both sides of eternity. You have provided the free and gracious gift of life eternally with you when my time here is completed, and you have provided the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus while you keep me here. Thank you for those you brought into my life to explain the difference between knowing you and knowing about you. I confess that too often I do not pursue knowing you in an ever-deepening personal relationship the way you intend. Please forgive that foolish approach to living the life you have given me. And please help me to follow every step of your lead so I truly know you as deeply as possible, and never settle for just knowing about you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you come to know God for eternal purposes in that you are assured you will spend eternity in His presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? What’s standing in the way of your acceptance of His free and gracious provision? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with pursuing the eternal life of knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change in how you know God, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?