June 11, 2018

Knowing God Versus Knowing About God

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 11, 2018

(Inspired to write these ideas by my recent reread of Knowing God by J.I. Packer)

With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.  Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. Daniel 11:32-33

I may gain great knowledge about God and still not know God in His greatness. If I only desire more information about God to shore up my doctrinal debates with those who differ from me, I am vulnerable to pride puffing up my self-righteousness. However, when I humble myself before the Lord in order to know Him, for the sole purpose of becoming more like Him, then my knowledge becomes a bridge to Christlikeness, not a chasm of self-reliance between me and my Savior Jesus. Knowing God energizes my soul, elevates my thoughts, deepens my trust and emboldens my courage to resist a culture counter to Christ. I want to know God so I can love God better.

Daniel describes a future time not unlike our current culture, which was also reflected in his contemporary society. A culture then and now that resists righteousness, but bows to the powers of unrighteous mammon. A Christian today might justify his compromise by saying, “Better to be in bed with the enemy than persecuted by the enemy”. But where is the conviction of Daniel in our modern day Christian leaders— thrown into the lions’ den for his daily prayers, defying the King’s edict. Because Daniel knew God, he resisted the unrighteous authorities.

“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you” (Daniel 6:16).

Here are some of the outcomes from Knowing God:

Knowing God Energizes Our Soul   

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10).

Our soul either shrivels, seduced by a noisy culture or is energized by an uncommon quietness before our Creator. We come to know the One who knows us the best, when we plug into His power over death and rely on His grace and comfort through our suffering. A strong soul is energized through its worship of the splendor and majesty of God. Is your soul exhausted from disengagement with eternal matters? Be still and know God—know He will strengthen your soul.

Knowing God Elevates Our Thoughts   

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

Our thoughts can mindlessly traverse about a Mount Everest base of truth, only to be scaled by confessing our finite capacity to capture only a limited understanding of what lies at the peak of the Lord’s perfect ways. When the Holy Spirit captures our thoughts, He is able to elevate them by faith into the transcendent mind of Christ. By God’s grace through faith we have the mind of Christ to patiently mine out the truth of God found in the Word of God. The Spirit rejects lazy, stinking thinking and replaces it with focused, teachable thinking that expands our wisdom and discernment. What some say is foolish, God says is wise—as He renews our mind to His ways.

Knowing God Deepens Our Trust   

“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

There is a unity in Christ that is the fruit of faith in Christ. So goes the way of mature relationships, even in their diversity and division they are able to trust one another from their trust in Jesus. Mature Christ followers aspire to live out the fruit of faith in Christ and not highjack Jesus for a political agenda, driven by a lust for power. Trust and unity come to those of us who embrace together the Son of God first, and invite Him to conform us to His image by deepening our trust in each other.  

Knowing God Emboldens Our Courage   

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Peter and John’s courage had the advantage of physically being with Jesus: hearing Him teach, watching Him heal and extend forgiveness, grieving at His death on the cross and celebrating over their resurrected Lord. In the same way their courage came from being with Jesus, so today’s followers of Jesus can gain courage from being with Jesus: reflection in prayer and study over the same events the disciples experienced. Ordinary Christians live extraordinary lives having been with Jesus. Courage to carry on through adversity is fueled by Christ’s comfort and hope in His healing, now and for eternity. A cynical world takes note of courageous Christians!

Yes, the fruit of knowing God energizes our soul, elevates our thoughts, deepens our trust and emboldens our courage. Seek knowledge of God, so you can better know God. He loves you!

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).



Heavenly Father, I want to know You so I can better love You and follow Your ways, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Seek to know God and how He loves you, by slowly reading and reflecting on Scripture that teaches about the love of God.

Related Reading

Psalm 100:3, 135:5; Matthew 15:32; Acts 18:25

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  1. EPG says:

    Packer’s book is impressive but it doesn’t provide a roadmap to knowing God. Have you considered a book called, “True Worship: Knowing God by Developing a Closer Relationship with Him”?

  2. Gwynne says:

    Dear wisdom hunter,
    Thank you for reaching out to us after reading Boyd’s devotional, “Knowing God Versus Knowing About God”. Please know that I will share your comments with Boyd and your suggestion to consider the book “True Worship: Knowing God by Developing a Closer Relationship with Him”. We appreciate the suggestion.
    We hope during this precious season of celebrating our Lord’s birth, that you and your family are soaking up His Presence and Wonder.
    Grateful for you,
    “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest upon His shoulders; and His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
    Isaiah 9:6

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