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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Know; Knowledge

nō , nol´ej (in Hebrew chiefly ידע , yādha‛ , noun דּעת , da‛ath ; in Greek γινώσκω , ginṓskō , οῖδα , oı́da ; "to know fully," ἐπιγινώσκω , epiginṓskō , noun γνώσις , gnṓsis ἐπίγνωσις , epignōsis ): Knowledge strictly is the apprehension by the mind of some fact or truth in accordance with its real nature; in a personal relation the intellectual act is necessarily conjoined with the element of affection and will (choice, love, favor, or, conversely, repugnance, dislike, etc.). Knowledge is distinguished from "opinion" by its greater certainty. The mind is constituted with the capacity for knowledge, and the desire to possess and increase it. The character of knowledge varies with its object. The senses give knowledge of outward appearances; the intellect connects and reasons about these appearances, and arrives at general laws or truths; moral truth is apprehended through the power inherently possessed by men of distinguishing right and wrong in the light of moral principles; spiritual qualities require for their apprehension spiritual sympathy ("They are spiritually judged," 1 Corinthians 2:14 ). The highest knowledge possible to man is the knowledge of God, and while there is that in God's infinity which transcends man's power of comprehension (Job 11:7 , Job 11:9 ), God is knowable in the measure in which He has revealed Himself in creation (Romans 1:19 , Romans 1:20 , "that which is known of God," etc.), and supremely in Jesus Christ, who alone perfectly knows the Father, and reveals Him to man (Matthew 11:27 ). This knowledge of God in Jesus Christ is "life eternal" (John 17:3 ). Knowledge is affirmed of both God and man, but with the wide contrast that God's knowledge is absolute, unerring, complete, intuitive, embracing all things, past, present, and future, and searching the inmost thoughts of the heart (Psalm 139:1 , Psalm 139:23 ); whereas man's is partial, imperfect, relative, gradually acquired, and largely mixed with error ("Now we see in a mirror darkly ... in part," 1 Corinthians 13:12 ). All these points about knowledge are amply brought out in the Scripture usage of the terms. A large part of the usage necessarily relates to natural knowledge (sometimes with a carnal connotation, as Genesis 4:1 , Genesis 4:17 ), but the greatest stress also is laid on the possession of moral and spiritual knowledge (e.g. Psalm 119:66; Proverbs 1:4 , Proverbs 1:7 , Proverbs 1:22 , Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 8:10 , etc.; Luke 1:77; Romans 15:14; 2 Peter 1:5 , 2 Peter 1:6 ). The highest knowledge, as said, is the knowledge of God and Christ, and of God's will (Hosea 6:6; Romans 11:33; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 1:9; Philippians 3:8; Colossians 1:9 , Colossians 1:10 , etc.). The moral conditions of spiritual knowledge are continually insisted on ("If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God," John 7:17 ). On the. other hand, the pride of intellectual knowledge is condemned; it must be joined with love ("Knowledge puffeth up, 1 Corinthians 8:1 ). The stronger term epignōsis is used to denote the full and more perfect knowledge which is possessed in Christ, the conditions of which are humility and love. Of knowledge as connoting favor, choice, on the part of God, there are many examples (Psalm 1:6 , Yahweh knoweth the way of the righteous"; Galatians 4:9 , "know God, or rather to be known by God"; compare Romans 8:29 , "whom he fore-knew"). See FOREKNOWLEDGE .

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Know; Knowledge'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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