Knowing About God or Knowing God? Which Is Better?
Have you ever been faced with that kind of choice? What would you choose? Well, turns out it’s a false choice and making it is a sucker’s game. (See what I think of false choices in a previous post) But when I was first a Christian, I bought in fully to the ‘don’t just know about God, you have to know Him’ cliche. There is a half-truth there to be sure. There is a difference between just head knowledge and experiential adoration of the Knowable One. But to diminish the value of knowing about God is not a good thing to do. Why? Because knowing God will always necessitate knowing about God.
Leaving The Song But Sticking With Solomon. Yesterday I shared how I had just read The Song of Songs, Which Is Solomon’s in my year-long chronological Bible plan. I read the Song and immediately was plunged into Proverbs, also by Solomon. Proverbs is an epic treatise on the nature of wisdom. Wisdom is so much more than knowledge, but it is certainly not less than. In a book about wisdom, there is heavy emphasis placed upon knowledge. My son, hear the instruction of your father… From His mouth come knowledge and understanding… My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings, do not let them depart from your eyes… There is a lot of importance placed on knowing content there. Wisdom is not just the possession of knowledge. You can know a lot but not be wise. But… You can’t be wise without knowing some stuff. Likewise, how can we worship (the knowing) what we do not understand (the knowing about)?
It Takes Knowledge About To Truly Know. In a similar way, you can know a lot of content about God without truly knowing Him. But… To know Him requires some knowledge about Him. I’ve run across the sentiment often; that people want to be worshipful but don’t want to worry about all the details about what God is like. “I don’t want to get bogged down in doctrines and theology, I just want to enjoy/love/worship Him.” Always be suspicious of someone who discourages delving into doctrinal understanding. I’ve learned to love doctrine and how necessary knowing about is to knowing. Doctrines are not boring formulae, they are descriptions of God. Can you describe what you do not know? Maybe. Can you intimately know what you can not describe? Not likely.
A Parable. Is God pleased with worship that does not seek to understand Him? With an adoring heart that doesn’t try to learn about him? Now, in the manner of the Greatest Teacher, a parable… I was once feeling very affectionate toward my wife Sarah. She was sitting in the living room on the couch reading a book. My heart filled up with affection for her. I wanted to cuddle up and show how much I loved her. I sat down and enjoyed her presence. I got close and wanted to let her know how much she thrilled me. I began whispering sweet nothings into her ear and holding her tight. I told her how much I loved looking into her deep blue eyes and running my fingers through her long blonde hair. I was thoroughly enjoying her presence when she turned to me and said “Idiot! My eyes are brown and so’s my hair!” He who has ears to hear…
Knowing God is more than knowing things about Him, but it’s certainly not less. Are you interested at all in God’s nature? In the history of His works? In the doctrines which describe Him? His own words? Do you know about God enough to know Him better? There are some things we can not know fully. But do you desire to know as much about God as you can?