Knowing God or Knowing about God

This very fine article from the late theologian J.I. Packer makes a very important point: It is possible to know a lot about God, but still not really know God. From……….


Knowing God is Intimate and Personal—Dallas Willard

“Knowing” God is intimate and personal

Accordingly, the only description of eternal life found in the words we have from Jesus is “This is eternal life, that they [his disciples] may know you, the only real God, and Jesus the anointed, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). This may sound to us like “mere head knowledge.” But the biblical “know” always refers to an intimate, personal, interactive relationship.

From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Knowing About God — Dallas Willard

How is one to know about God?The question that lingers in the air within our communities and world at large is: How is one to know about God? This is why the proclamation of the gospel as the knowledge of God is absolutely fundamental, essential, and unequivocally necessary for the common well-being. The preaching and teaching of the Logos of God is to reveal the nature of God and his ways. Very simply, this is what the gospel consists of. The gospel is the good, true, and real news about God. In order for us to understand the entire gospel, we must also understand it in the fullness of God. Therefore reducing the gospel to certain doctrines pertaining to things like salvation, justification, atonement, or social/political activism, as important as these are, risks overlooking that these are subsidiary to the fullness of the nature and essence of God’s person. If we merely think of the gospel as the work of Jesus during a few moments on a cross during his earthly existence, we will miss the grand entirety of his mission on earth. Most crucially, we will miss the essence of God as he is in himself, including his Trinitarian relationality, and the ways in which he provides for all of those who are created by him. This is what Paul is attempting to bring across in Ephesians 4:17–24: “Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. That is not the way you learned Christ! For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

From The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth. Copyright © 2014 by Dallas Willard amd Gary Black Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.