Knowledge of God- 2 Corinthians 5:16

In our previous post, we examined Paul’s teaching on how he acquired his worldview, that the way of interpreting reality which he had received from his parents had been replaced with a new way of seeing the world. His experience of being born again had made him a new creation (the subject of our next post), and as a new creation he had been given a new way of interpreting reality, of seeing the world. We will continue our examination of this in verse 16, for here Paul also makes known to us the way in which this new worldview is developed in us and put into practice in our lives, how the old worldview is gradually replaced with the new one. This can be discovered once again in an examination of the two Greek words for knowledge which are both translated as regarded in the NIV. We may recall that these two words are oida and ginosko, which each refer to a particular form of knowledge. The word oida is derived from the root verb eidon, which means “to see” and refers to physical sight. Oida, then, refers to seeing things mentally, to how we perceive or understand things, and may be seen as the acquiring and understanding of information, of knowing something. Ginosko, however, focuses more on the process of knowing rather than the knowledge itself, it is knowledge gained through experience, through a close acquaintance with someone or something, fundamentally as knowing someone. So we find knowledge acquired in two ways, through the study of objective information (oida) and the development of a subjective relationship (ginosko). What is important to understand here is that Paul tells us that his prior worldview was something he came to know through relationship with his parents and teachers, while his new worldview is one he is developing through a study of the objective truth of the Scriptures. This is where Paul’s background as a Hebrew enters the picture, for knowledge to a Hebrew was not seen merely as the possession of information, but the acquiring of information in order to know and obey God. It was not merely a function of the mind, but also of the will. The mind would grow to know God in order that the will would obey Him, and it is this concept which allows us to understand Paul’s use of the Greek here. His new worldview was developed through the study of the truth of the Scripture (oida), which led to His growing to know (ginosko) the person of Jesus Christ. The same is to be true of every believer. We devote ourselves to the study of Scripture not merely that we would obtain biblical knowledge and information, but that we would grow to know the person of Jesus Christ, so that we would develop His worldview, see things as He does. It is through our study of the written Word that we come to know the living Word, and it is as we come to know the living word that the “eyes of our hearts are enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18) and we begin to see all of reality differently, we begin to see through His eyes, His worldview becomes ours as well. This is what Paul experienced as part of being a new creation in Christ, and he shows us here how all believers can experience this as well, encouraging us in the study of Scripture, but not merely to obtain biblical information, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we would be conformed to the image of Christ, living out the transformation this “knowledge” brings about inside us.

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