A lot of Christians have knowledge about God, but very few know him personally and intimately. There is a big difference between having knowledge about God and knowing God. One is distant, the other close.
First of all, it is important to know the meaning of knowledge and knowing, in order to grasp the difference between the two words.
According to web dictionary, knowledge is information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It is also defined as what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information.
Dictionary.com defines knowledge as acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation. Therefore, it will be noted knowledge is acquired through gathering information and/or facts by studying or through investigation. For example, if a Christian says he has knowledge about God, it means he has found from gathering information in the Bible that God is love, caring, merciful, faithful and gracious. There is nothing wrong with this. This is the first step to have a grasp of who God is and/or His nature. However, knowledge in itself is useless if what has been gathered cannot be applied practically. A person can gain knowledge through experience but if he cannot apply what he has gained through experience, then the knowledge he has gained is useless.
Not all knowledge gained can be put into practice
Not all knowledge gained can be put into practice or applied such as wanting to have knowledge about sharks. Nevertheless, when it comes to God, there is a clear difference for what had been learned needs to be put into action. Therefore, knowledge is required. The Bible says faith without works is dead. Therefore, what has been heard or read and understood needs to be put into action.
It will be noted a lot of marriages break up because spouses did not take time to know each other well during the dating period. They only had knowledge of each other. They did not go deeper to really get to know each other. This is the reason why couples do not understand each other when one behaves differently. If a marriage has to endure through thick and thin, the would-be-spouses need to take time to know each other before getting married. The same case with God.
This is clearly noted by Atchurchsource, “A man could study about a great man, read his biography, and admire his life, but until he meets the man personally, he can never say that he knows him. Knowing requires personal contact. The extent of knowledge is dependent on the extent of personal contact. Unless we have personal contact with God, we do not know God.” It is also stated, “Most people think they know God because they know facts about God and believe the right things. God does want us to know and believe truths, but this does not constitute knowing God.”
Knowledge about God is whereby a person hears or reads about God but never invited Him into his life.
When you invite Jesus into your life, He becomes real and you end up with a relationship and He loves you and you love Him 24/7. Then, when you are baptized in His Holy Spirit, your spiritual eyes become open to the deeper things of God. Every one of us was created in the image of God as stated in Genesis 1:26. He designed us with the emotional and spiritual capacity to have an intimate relationship with Him.
Pharisees were known to boast of having lots of knowledge about God by following His laws and commandments. However, as recorded in the book of Romans, good works will never get a man to heaven. Following the laws and commandments will never get a man to heaven. It does not in any way mean the person knows God personally and intimately. It is not about following laws but having a relationship with God. A son cannot say he has a personal and intimate relationship with his father if there is no continuous communication between the two of them. In order to know God personally and intimately, a Christian needs to ensure there is a continuous relationship with God through prayers, meditating on God’s word, fellowship with other Christians and living as a Christian should buy what is written in the Bible and following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Obeying God without having a close relationship with Him is useless. God is a person like us, only He is in a spiritual form. This is what God desires of us: to have a close relationship with Him on a continuous basis.
Knowledge is power
It is said knowledge is power. Nonetheless, it is not power if what has been gained through gathering information and/or facts is not put into action. The first step to knowing God personally and intimately is by acquiring information – knowledge. In the Bible, God says, “My people perish because of lack of knowledge. Knowledge is the first step to having a personal and intimate relationship with God. Knowing is the second step. They have to go hand-in-hand.
The following scriptures are worth reading: Romans 10:2, 1 Corinthians 8:1b, Hosea 4:6, Proverbs 2:6, 9-11, Proverbs 9:6.
NOTE: Knowledge about God is the same as knowing about God which is different from knowing God. The preposition about makes the all difference.