Today is one of those days I really wish I could speak Greek. The language is wonderfully descriptive and precise. English, and it hurts me to say this, doesn’t have the same depth. Our next installment of 2 Peter 1:5-7 is about knowledge. Today we use the word as to have the intellectual understanding of something, but there is another layer to it that English doesn’t capture.
What it Is
The Greek word for knowledge here is gnosis, which Strong’s concordance defines as “knowledge, doctrine, wisdom.” The word is derived from ginosko, which means to know through experience. The knowledge Peter is talking about here isn’t just reading something and putting facts into your brain. It also means knowing something because you have experience with it.
What it Does
As the third trait Peter lists, we have to start with faith in God, which will cause us to want to do right (virtue), and by living this way we gain life experiences and intellectual knowledge about God. In Luke 1:77, Zecharias prophesies about John the Baptist preparing the way for the Lord, and he says, “To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins.” People who heard John weren’t offered only teaching about God’s will. They were given a chance to experience it through obedience.
The same word is also used in Romans 15:14: “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Having a good heart, as well as having experience in life with the Christian walk, gives us the ability to correct and encourage each other. There’s a reason we tend to rely on our elders for advice. Although young people can have abundant intellectual knowledge, age gives experience with that knowledge, and thus more insight into how to put it into practice.
How we Get It
This version of knowledge is, by definition, gained through experience. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Enduring through this life will give experience. The farther we go, the more we will know.
We are also taught in 2 Timothy 2:15 to study to show ourselves approved. Let’s keep studying so that we know what God would have us to do. Then when we find ourselves in difficult situations in life, we can stay faithful in our race and gain knowledge in the process.
May the Lord bless and keep you,