Written by Victoria Mooneyham
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– 2 Peter 1:5-8
In Paul’s letter to his trusted assistant and friend Titus, Paul begins by stating the purpose of his ministry –
I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. – Titus 1:1 NLT
Likewise, Peter encourages his readers with –
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. – 2 Peter 1:2-3 NLT
In other words, we build upon our faith by learning about God (having knowledge of God), which leads to godly living.
Knowledge is defined by Merriam-Webster as understanding or skill gained by experience. In context of building upon goodness, knowledge gained through faith is accurate discernment and recognition of and acquaintance with the Truth.
Knowledge worth having comes from the Spirit, who reveals the character of our Triune God and imparts wisdom. If we have the Spirit and thus knowledge, that means we know God; and when we know God, we know how to discern truth and how to live a fruitful and effective life.
However, knowledge isn’t simply accruing information and having good recall. Knowledge built on faith isn’t surface level- even by the Merriam-Webster definition, knowledge is more than muscle memory; it’s gained by experience. We gain the knowledge of God in mind, heart, and deed by:
When we come together corporately, we hear the reading of the Word from an overseer with the purpose to encourage and rebuke. This is a message for the entire assembly to mediate and benefit.
We gather in groups to study Scripture. We may study the Word topically or by books of the Bible, but by being in groups we can ask and answer questions, testify to the move of God, share burdens, and minister to one another. In groups, we experience God in community.
Reading Scripture privately allows God to teach and convict us. We can take our time and study at whatever pace we need to learn more about the character and nature of God.
Similarly to reading Scripture, there’s power in different forms of prayer. We come to God corporately and privately to express thanksgiving and adoration, confess sin, and petition God. We also listen for how God is calling us to respond to him, which is to say, we listen for how God wants us to live our life in obedience to his Word, and our response testifies to his goodness and holiness.
Knowledge without discernment or obedience is useless. The Spirit of God must be allowed to work in such a way that we apply the knowledge we gain from study and prayer. When our lives reflect the teaching of Christ, we show others that we know God.
The Christian life isn’t defined by simply changing our lifestyle and behavior, but by knowing God. When we know God, we’re empowered to live the godly life Jesus set as an example. Getting to know God will make a profound change within us – and isn’t it amazing our God wants to be known!
Knowing God’s love makes us loving. Knowing and desiring God realigns our priorities, preferences, and inclinations. Knowing God affects every aspect of our lives as it gives us assurance of salvation, shapes us in holiness, and transforms the way we look and interact with the world around us. Knowing God – the knowledge of God – changes lives!
- Do you know God? How well do you know him?
- What does godly living look like?
- How well do you prioritize the following, and are there ways you can improve?
- corporate worship
- studying the Bible as in a group or family
- private time in study or prayer
- Read Proverbs 9:10-11. Then read Ecclesiastes 12:9-14. The “fear of the Lord” involves submission to God, turning away from sin and the culture of our world, and loving and seeking the things God loves. How does knowing God help us to accomplish this?