Have you ever felt dry, depleted, or desperate for something more in your Christian life?
I have too.
I grew up in church. Sunday school, flannel boards, long sermons – yep, they were all included. We were taught Bible stories from a young age, acted some of them out in church, attended Bible conferences, and even had special classes and seminars to teach us even more.
But it all was lacking. Something was missing. Surely there is something more than this, isn’t there?
Don’t get me wrong, the stuff listed above isn’t bad, in fact it is rather good. But it isn’t complete.
It’s not a secret, but I discovered what was missing soon after college while traveling with evangelist and preacher Stephen Manley.
What was missing was knowledge. Not knowledge as you think it is, and not some “secret insider knowledge” either. Let me explain …
As you may already know, the New Testament was written in Greek. In Biblical Greek there are three main words used for the word “knowledge” and they all emphasize something unique:
- Data, facts, information. Think of a newspaper or a math book. I don’t interact with the information, I read, memorize, understand, or learn it. This type of knowledge is often academic and impersonal. Two plus two equals four. In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
- Perception, understanding. Another word in Greek for knowledge conveys perception and understanding. We say things like “oh I see it” – not with our eyes, but with our minds. The lightbulb has turned on; something makes sense.
- Relationship, experience. The third word in Greek for knowledge emphasizes knowing something through relationship or experience. I might know the speed limit (data, facts, information) but the moment I get pulled over for speeding, I KNOW the speed limit. Why? Because I experienced the result of breaking the law.
Moving Beyond Academics
We often approach Christianity, Scripture, and Jesus with an academic approach. We know the stories, we can quote memory verses, we may even teach the Bible ourselves.
What is lacking is not the facts, data, and information. Its the relationship and experience.
Should I know the Bible? Yes. I should have a grasp of the stories and I should be reading and studying Scripture – but not so I can gain more information but for the purpose of knowing Jesus (learn more here).
Jesus declared in John 17.3: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
The word Jesus uses for “know” is not to know something academically or scholarly, but knowing through relationship and experience.
It’s not so much the facts and data He is concerned with as much as intimacy and oneness. Again, yes I should know (data, facts, information) the Bible, but Christianity is more than two plus two equals Jesus.
Christianity is all about a relationship.
It’s about surrender, abiding, and dependency upon the King of kings and Lord of lords.
If it is only about facts and data, then satan and the demons would likely be better Christians then you or I. Satan has an understanding of the Word (he quotes it to Jesus during the temptations – see Matthew 4) and satan and his cronies were around during the life of Jesus. If anyone knows facts, details, insider information, surely it would be them. But they certainly aren’t Christians – quite the opposite.
It’s not knowing the facts and data that will get you into Heaven – it’s knowing Jesus (relationship, intimacy, oneness). Do you want eternal life? You need intimacy with the One who is Life.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in John 5.39 saying, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Can you get details, knowledge, and academic information from the Scriptures? Absolutely. But that doesn’t lead to eternal life. Jesus says the Scriptures declare (testify) of Him – it’s all about a Person!
The Solution to a Dry, Depleted, or Desperate Life
The answer is easy. It’s Jesus! Simple, I know.
But the key is not to know all about Jesus, but to actually know Him.
I went to seminary and found that a lot of people there knew a lot about Jesus but didn’t actually know Him. They were wrapped up in the academics, they could debate you up and down, they enjoyed using big theological terms, but their life lacked substance.
They had knowledge (data, facts, information) without knowledge (relationship, intimacy, oneness).
What about you? Dry, depleted, or desperate for something more?
The answer is knowing Jesus. Actually knowing Him.
Want to learn how? Try Saturation Bible Study – it teaches you how to study, read, and live in the Word, not for academics, but to actually know Jesus.