Bible Reading: John 5:31-47
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life” [John 5:39-40 NLT]
There is a well-known phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Knowledge about God is good but it is not the same as knowing Him. Jesus was speaking to religious leaders who searched the Scriptures but refused to come to Him to receive salvation. Although they knew the Scriptures they were as blind as any other sinner who was far from God!
A young man from our church came to me for advice before going to Bible College. I advised him to guard his relationship with God, because in an atmosphere of constant study and handling the Bible it is very easy to become presumptuous and to lose touch with God and instead fill the mind knowledge.
The apostle Paul’s heart cry after many years of serving Jesus was that he might know Him better. This knowledge of God is not so much a head knowledge but of knowing Him experientially. Paul’s longing was so clearly expressed when he wrote his letter to the Philippians, and the Amplified Bible makes it particularly clear and challenging: “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]” [Philippians 3:10 Amplified Bible].
The religious leaders to whom Jesus spoke studied the Scriptures, but they refused to come to Him that they might have real spiritual life. They did not understand that the knowledge of God begins with a right heart attitude towards Him. Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” [Proverbs 1:7]. The fear of the Lord is to reverence and respect Him, honour Him [see v.44], and love Him. This is the motive for our obedience and faithfulness to God, and it is this experiential knowledge of God that is the source of wisdom and of all true spiritual understanding. It is this that should control all our attitudes and actions in the world.
Sadly, the religious leaders who Jesus spoke with knew the Bible, but were as blind spiritually, as any lost sinner who lived far from God. They were blinded by their knowledge and this kept them from true faith and knowing God personally. It is not enough to know about God – we must know Him!
Why do you think that people can study the Bible and yet live without a personal faith in God? What are the barriers that hinder such people coming to faith in Christ?
In the light of what we have learned today, how much knowledge is necessary for a person to come to Christ? What are you personally doing to become more intimate in your walk with God and better acquainted with Him?