A Study by Allen Redding
. . . I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal. (Matthew11:25b-27)
In this article we look at the use of three types of knowledge in God’s Word.
Oida/ Eido, which represent an intuitive knowledge such as the awareness of death, corruption and grief.
Ginosko/Gnosis, which represent an experiential knowledge. We “come to know, recognize, perceive, distinguish and discern” but this knowledge is fragmented and immature.
Epiginosko/Epignosis, which represent a clear and exact understanding of the subject matter. It is the “mature knowledge” that is used by God in relationship to His faithful disciples. It is the “know and knows” of our text.
Christians cannot have a clear and exact and mature understanding of God unless Jesus Christ reveals it to them. The Greek word translated “reveal” in our text is “apokalupto” and it means “to remove a veil or take off the cover. The noun is “apokalupsis,” which means a “disclosure or revelation.” We say “apocalypse or apocalyptic”. Jesus clearly states that He grants revelation to certain Christians according to His will. He accomplishes this through the Word and the Holy Spirit.
What is this mature knowledge that reveals the hidden things of God? Luke states that he wrote his account of our Lord’s ministry “so that you might know (epiginosko) the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4). The mature knowledge of God and His Son comes from His Word. Paul prays for the faithful at Ephesus . . . “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation (apokalupsis) in the knowledge (epignosis) of Him” (Ephesians1:17). Wisdom and disclosure comes with this mature knowledge.
Again, Paul prays for the Christians at Philippi . . . “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge (epignosis) and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippeans.1:9-10). This mature knowledge nurtures and grows love (agape). This mature knowledge recognizes the precious things of God. It prepares a Christian for the judgment of His Church and the selection of His bride.
Again, Paul prays for the faithful at Colosse . . . “For this reason also, since the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge (epignosis) of His Will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge (epignosis) of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:9-12). This mature knowledge gives wisdom and understanding. Without this mature knowledge a Christian cannot enter the narrow way nor produce good fruit.
This mature knowledge must be active and ever growing. It gives strong roots to the faith and the hope of our honored position in His coming Kingdom. Please note that in all three prayers Paul uses the word “may.” Christ reveals this knowledge only to those who keep seeking, keep asking, and keep knocking. It is for the obedient and faithful disciple. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (epignosis) of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge (epignosis) of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:2-3). This knowledge given to His faithful provides the means to achieve glorious life in His Kingdom. [Allen Redding P. O. Box 329 Barksdale, TX 78828 830-234-3121]
Let’s continue our study of this “knowledge” that Jesus reveals to those who are chosen from His Church by God. As we saw last time from His Word, it is translated from the Greek word “epignosis” and it literally means “knowledge upon knowledge upon knowledge, etc.” or “mature knowledge.” What is it? As always, God will tell.
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its practices and have put on the new self who is being renovated to the true knowledge (epignosis) according to the image of the One who created him. (Colossians 3:10)
And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renovating of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
A Christian must have this “mature knowledge” to please God. We must not be like the world or anything of this age. “. . . of God our Savior, who desires all men (lit. mankind) to be saved and to come to the knowledge (epignosis) of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3b, 4). Not only does God want the entire human race to accept His free gift of spiritual salvation, He wants redeemed mankind (Christians) to acquire the mature knowledge of the truth. Why? It is the only way to please God. It is the only way to be His disciple. It is the narrow way.
What is “the truth”? “Truth” is translated from the Greek word “aletheia,” which literally means “to not escape notice”. “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods that God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know (epignosis) the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3). “Forbidding” is translated from the Greek word “koluo,” which means “to hinder and to chastise”. “Abstain” is from the Greek word “apecho,” which literally means “to hold back, to be away”. “Believe” is the Greek word “pistos,” which literally means “to be trustful, faithful”. The truth would be the coming marriage of the Son and the absolute necessity of eating meat instead of milk.
Paul writes there will be Christians who will hinder the teaching of His marriage and its purpose for His faithful. Further he states that they will not eat the solid food of maturity. His disciples who trust His promises and who are faithfully obedient do so because they know the truth.
who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they upset the faith of some . . . But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge (epignosis) of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:18, 23, 25)
The truth that comes from having maturity is the meaning of the resurrection for His Church. His faithful will receive their inheritances of honor in the kingdom and His unfaithful will suffer loss of their inheritances with harsh punishment during the kingdom age. “Repentance” is the Greek word “metanoeo,” which means “to think differently, to reconsider.”
Paul writes to Timothy about Christians who have had this knowledge of the truth but have gone astray. “Paul, a bondservant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge (epignosis) of the truth that is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal (lit. age lasting) life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago” (Titus 1:1, 2).
The truth is that there will be life in the kingdom of the heavens for those Christians who are faithfully obedient, those Christians who actively possess “the faith” and “the knowledge.” “Chosen” is the Greek word “eklego” and it literally means “to select, elect, pick up” or “to call from out of”. All Christians have been called but only those to whom the Son wills to reveal the knowledge are chosen. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). But with mature knowledge there must be faithful obedience to all of His Word. Anything less will result in the loss of one’s inheritance. [Allen Redding P. O. Box 329 Barksdale, TX 78828 830-234-3121]