Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.- 2 Peter 1:1-2 ESV
Do you know God, do you know Jesus, do you know what it takes to KNOW God and our Lord, our Savior, Jesus? Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something, which can include facts, information, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. You can know President Abraham Lincoln. You can read much about him, most would be able to identify him if he walked into your presence, but you don’t KNOW him relationally or intimately. You could have read of his trials and travails, about his failures and his success, but unless you know what sustained him in his darkest times, the depths of his sorrow and the heights of his joys- you can’t really know ‘the cut of his jib’. In order to KNOW someone deeply is to understand them by knowledge of their past and the choices AND by walking intimately with them. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
Leader, in the original language of the Bible, the two words generally translated as ‘knowledge’ are ‘gnosis’ and ‘epignosis’. ‘Gnosis’ conveys the idea of just ‘knowing’, ‘epignosis’ is a knowledge that involves a ‘full discernment’, which is ‘to become fully acquainted with’ or to have a full understanding of something. Bible teacher Robert R. McLaughlin puts it this way; “There is a tremendous difference between having gnosis (knowledge) and epignosis (wisdom). Epignosis, metabolized doctrine, is absolutely essential to our spiritual life and our relationship with God. Only metabolized doctrine can be useful for problem solving. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge(epignosis) of Him.”(Ephesians 1:17) The “spirit of wisdom” refers to the application of metabolized doctrine under the enabling power of the Spirit. God the Holy Spirit gives you the ability to handle your problems through EPIGNOSIS doctrine.” Epignosis without gnosis might lead us to over-generalize based on a small sampling of life, but gnosis without epignosis leads astray many people with advanced degrees. To be useful, Ph.D.s in psychology need post-docs in ‘streetology’, and we can all use diplomas from the School of Hard Knocks.
Conduit, EPIGNOSIS is a strengthened or intensified form of GNOSIS, and conveys the thought of a knowledge which is fuller, larger and more thorough. It also conveys the idea of a more intimate and personal relationship than the simple term gnosis. Epignosis is Clear and exact knowledge. Always of a knowledge which powerfully influences the form of the religious life, and hence containing more of the element of personal sympathy than the simple gnosis knowledge, which may be concerned with the intellect alone without affecting the character. This is the knowledge that SAVES and CHANGES lives. It is EPIGNOSIS that causes an internal change, that leads to external works. HOW DO WE GET THIS KNOWLEDGE? Grace and PEACE, that’s how. Those two words show up many times in GOD’s WORD. Grace and peace; you can’t have one without the other. Grace given by God. Peace made possible through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. How do you get your relationship to the level of EPIGNOSIS? You eat HIS WORD, you SEEK His PRESENCE and you KNOW WHO HE IS! The reason Grace and Peace show up so many times, Peter uses this combination 13 times- Grace from God, creates PEACE with GOD! The Holy Spirit then stirs up a desire to GNOSIS God, and then we EPIGNOSIS our LORD and OUR SAVIOR. They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 8:19, 14:7) With the extra time on your hands- seek God and EPIGNOSIS HIM, through HIS SON, JESUS!