By Dr Clifford Denton
It is quite a different matter to know God from knowing about God. Knowing about God can remain in the realms of Greek philosophy: knowing God, Hebraically, is to have intimate relationship with him.
The Hebrew verb know is yadah from which comes da’at – knowledge. The Bible of the early Christians was the Hebrew Bible or Tanach, later called the Old Testament. Herein is the revelation of Jesus the Messiah (Yeshua HaMashiach). The Gospel was first preached from the Old Testament. The New Testament writings were a result of the ministry of the first century Church, translated into Greek but containing Hebraic concepts of the Old Testament.
To understand a biblical concept one is wise to trace the concept right through the Scripture, beginning in the Old Testament.
To understand the meaning of knowledge one goes right back to Genesis where it was said that Adam knew his wife Eve. Such knowledge is relational, understood through the relationship of a man with his wife – it is that intimate. This is why the God-ordained order of family is so important – a training ground for relationship with him. This concept of knowledge goes right through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. A significant part of this study is in the Book of Proverbs where Solomon inspires us to consider wisdom, knowledge and understanding. These are gifts of the Holy Spirit received through an intimate relationship with the God of Israel. This is in preparation for the Gospel message.
Greek philosophy relates to knowledge attained by training the mind, whereas our Hebraic heritage is relational. The God of the Hebrews offers more than our knowing about him – even the demons know about him. He offers us relationship with him, more intimate and purer than a man with his wife, and this is the purpose of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) sacrifice:
This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
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