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Family Discipleship

Knowing Christ or Knowing About Christ

I want to know Christ.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering. Philippians 3:10

In the Bible, to know is not to know about but to know deeply, to know by experience.  In the West, we often think of knowing as an intellectual or doctrinal knowledge. But, for the Hebrew, to know was to experience. Yada, the Hebrew word translated to know means to “to experience in an intimate way” and is the same word used for intercourse. As the King James translates it, Adam knew Eve.

When it comes to discipling our children, we should be teaching them the Bible. We should do all that we can to give them biblical and doctrinal knowledge. This knowledge forms the foundation of our knowledge of Christ. But that knowledge should lead us into a deep hunger and desire to experience God. The two are not the same.

Jonathan Edwards stated this way.

There is a difference between having an opinion that God is holy and gracious, and having a sense of that loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of that sweetness. A man may have the former, that know not how honey tastes; but a man can’t have the latter, unless he has an idea of the taste of honey in his mind. So there is a difference between believing that a person is beautiful, and having a sense of that beauty. The former may  be obtained by hearsay, but the latter only by seeing the countenance….The former rests only in the head, speculation only concerned in it; but the heart is concerned in the latter.(from “A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul By the Spirit of God, Show to Be both a Scriptural, and Rational Doctrine” as quoted in Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word, Douglas Sweeney, p. 40)

To paraphrase, there is a difference between knowing about honey and tasting honey.

We need to pray that our kids would experience God, that they would have encounters with the true and living God. To paraphrase Henry Blackaby, we need to pray that they would realize God is always at work around them, that he invites them into a love relationship with him, and that he invites them to join him in his work. David stated, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

Whether for ourselves or for our kids, let’s not be satisfied with knowledge about Christ. No, we want to experience Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering. Let’s pray that our children would have encounters with the true and living God who is alive and at work today.

Father, thank you that we can know you. Forgive my (and my children’s) lack of hunger for you. Fill me with knowledge about you and experiential knowledge of you. Do the same for each of my children.

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