Have you ever hit it off with somebody so quickly that it felt like your personalities just clicked? Maybe it was somebody who developed into a life-long friend, or perhaps if the relationship was with someone of the opposite sex, it grew into a love that eventually resulted in marriage. The point is that even though your personalities may have simply clicked in the beginning, your relationship didn’t grow and mature by accident. When you meet somebody you like or care about, the natural desire is to begin learning more about that individual. You intentionally spend time with them, share stories from your lives, and ask questions to learn more about who they are. As your relationship matures and grows, so does your knowledge of that person. So that not only do you know their past and dreams for the future but you also begin to understand the specific things about their personality that make them unique. This is how mature relationships are cultivated between individuals. It would be foolish to make claims of deep and mature love for somebody that you know almost nothing about. Because what you may love is, in all likelihood, an inaccurate and immature picture of who that person really is.
This natural desire we have to grow in the knowledge of somebody we care about should also extend to our relationship with God. When we become a follower of Christ it is a good thing to cultivate a desire to learn more about who God truly is, because it will result in a deepening love and worship of Him. Not only that, but it is honoring to God when our understanding of Him becomes clearer, lest we worship a picture of God that is counter to His true character. The ESV Study Bible frames this growing desire to know God well by saying,
“The capacity to love, enjoy, and tell others about a person is increased by greater knowledge of that person. Love and knowledge go hand in hand. Good lovers are students of the beloved. Knowledge of God is the goal of theology”
– ESV Study Bible, (Crossway, Wheaton Illinois, 2008) p. 2505
God has revealed Himself in Scripture in order to provide us a means to cultivate the desire to know God for who He is. But, while our increased knowledge in our human relationships will eventually unearth character flaws in an individual because we are all sinful and fallen, growing in our knowledge of God does not come with those same struggles because He is by nature perfectly holy, loving, and good. When we deepen our knowledge of God with the right motivations, it by extension matures our love and increases our awe of Him.
Going to the Bible
It may seem obvious that we should go to the Bible in order grow in our knowledge of God, but it is important to begin here because too many of us view Scripture primarily as an instruction manual with us at the center. When instead we should recognize that Scripture is a revelation from God, about who He is and how He is working throughout human history. It is important to approach the Bible with the right perspective, otherwise, we will fall into the same trap the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did when He rebuked them by saying,
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40).
There is a theme throughout Scripture that shows the significance of a true knowledge of God and how it should be desired above all else. God spoke, through His prophet Jeremiah, to the nation of Judah because they were putting their hope in the things of this world rather than in God.
“Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
– (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Just like the nation of Judah, we try to find satisfaction and significance in a variety of different things, but God says the only desire which will truly satisfy, is to know Him. As we approach Scripture this should be of utmost importance to us as well, in that a knowledge of the Lord first begins with saving faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior in order to be reconciled to God and have that relationship with Him. But Christians also need to continue to pursue a knowledge of God on a daily basis in order to deepen our love and adoration of Him. Every page of the Bible tells us something about who God is and what He has done, and it needs to stir in us a desire to worship Him because He is worthy of all glory. The more we know God as He has revealed Himself to us, the more it will cause us to worship Him and desire to know Him more deeply.
Accepting or Receiving
Think again about the way you may have felt when you received a letter from somebody you loved and cared about. You probably read the letter carefully in order to grasp everything that it was conveying. Perhaps, you even read it multiple times in one sitting in order to saturate yourself in the words from this individual you care so deeply about. Simply put, you did not just accept the letter or toss it to the side to be read later when it is more convenient. Instead, you received the letter and cherished every word. The same should be true when we approach the Bible because it is dripping with truth about who our amazing God and Creator is. He did not just give us His Word so that it can gather dust on a shelf. To neglect the Word of God is to neglect our relationship with Him.
I would challenge you to read the Bible this week and ask yourself the question, “What does this passage tell me about God?” No matter where you are in Scripture, you will be amazed to see His character and attributes revealed in His Word.