What does it mean “to know” the Lord?
that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. – John 3:15
But without faith it is impossible to please Him. – Hebrews 11:6a
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; – Deuteronomy 7:9a
What does it mean to believe?
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. – John 3:18
The Greek word used in this verse is πιστεύω, pronounced pisteuō. It is defined this way: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
Its Hebrew counterpart is אָמַן, which is where the word amen comes from. It means:to stand firm, to trust, to be certain, to believe in.
So our first step is to believe. We recognize that there is Someone who is behind all that is. We understand that this visible world is not all there is. It is the “aha!” moment when our perspective changes and we move from unbelief into believe.
However, this is only the first step. Remember, even the demons believe! James 2:19 uses the exact same word for believe, pisteuō.
We cannot stay here. This believe drives us forward into the next step, faith.
We move from mere belief to faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1
The Greek word used in this verse isπίστις, pronounced pē’-stēs. It is defined this way:a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we
obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God
Its Hebrew counterpart is אֱמוּנָה, which means:literally firmness; figuratively security; morally fidelity.
Having believed that there is God in heaven, we begin to wrestle with what that means. As we seek God’s face, He promises that He will be found (Jeremiah 29:13). When He is found, we see that we are hopelessly lost from Him, but our hearts yearn toward Him, longing to be in relationship with Him.
That’s why Jesus came. Why He died. Why we can now live. We pledge our fidelity to Him and become children of God (John 1:12).
Like our own children, we must learn to know.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. – John 17:3
The Greek word used in this verse is γινώσκω, pronounced ginōskō. It is defined this way:to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel. As a Jewish idiom, to know is to have sexual intercourse.
Its Hebrew counterpart is יָדַע, which means: to perceive and see, find out and discern, be revealed, to join together.
Like children, we progressively come to know God through the work of His Holy Spirit, whom He sent.
We start by acquiring knowledge, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. In the Bible, knowing always involves relationship and commitment. It is a “joining together” of two to become one. You see a temporal illustration in marriage, where physical intimacy is described as “knowing” (Genesis 4:1). But it is so much more than that! It implies taking something (or someone) to oneself to possess it.
Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:5 wanted to “know” good and evil. Knowledge in itself is not bad, but in the biblical sense, it means to become one with it. What we take unto ourselves becomes a part of who we are, and separation requires as it were a “ripping apart,” a “tearing asunder” (Mark 10:9). This is one reason that God forbids sex before marriage. A bond is formed that renders real, permanent harm to both parties when the relationship is broken.
In Amos chapter 3 God declares “you only have I known.” Naturally, He knows every person on earth, not just one family, but He had created a relationship between Himself and Israel. It was a deep, physicla, mental, emotional, and spiritual knowing that set Israel apart as God’s own.
So returning to John 17:3, do we know God in the biblical sense? Have we joined together with Him and have we created a relationship that will last through eternity with Him?
What God has joined together… God does the joining in our relationship with Him. We become His own.