John 17:3 - How To Know God.
John 17:3 - How To Know God.
John 17:3 (KJV) And this is life eternal, that they might know
thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 17:3 (TLB) And this is the way to have eternal life--by
knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to
What then does it mean to know God? Undoubtedly there is an
element of intellectual knowledge. It means, at least in part, to know
what God is like; and to know that does make the most tremendous
difference to life. . . We enter into a new life, we share something of the
life of God himself, when, through the work of Jesus, we discover
what God is like. It is eternal life to know what God is like. . . .
The Old Testament regularly uses know for sexual knowledge. "Adam
knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bore Cain" (Gen 4:1). Now
the knowledge of husband and wife is the most intimate there can be.
Husband and wife are no longer two; they are one flesh. The sexual act
itself is not the important thing; the important thing is the intimacy
of heart and mind and soul which in true love precede that act. To
know God is therefore not merely to have intellectual knowledge of
him; it is to have an intimate personal relationship with him, which
is like the nearest and dearest relationship in life. . . . To know
God is to know what he is like, and to be on the most intimate terms
of friendship with him. [Barclay Commentary]
The word "know" here, as in other places, expresses more than a
mere speculative acquaintance with the character and perfections of
God. "It includes all the impressions on the mind and life which a
just view of God and of the Saviour is fitted to produce." It
includes, of course, love, reverence, obedience, honor, gratitude, supreme
affection. "To know God as he is" is to know and regard him as a lawgiver,
a sovereign, a parent, a friend. It is to yield the whole soul to
him, and strive to obey his law.... Simply to have heard that there is
a Saviour is not to know it. To have been taught in childhood and
trained up in the belief of it is not to know it. To know him is to have
a just, practical view of him in all his perfections as God and
man; as a mediator; as a prophet, a priest, and a king. It is to feel
our need of such a Saviour, to see that we are sinners, and to yield
the whole soul to him, knowing that he is a Saviour suited to our
needs, and that in his hands our souls are safe. In this verse is
contained the sum and essence of the Christian religion, as it is
distinguished from all the schemes of idolatry and philosophy, and all the
false plans on which men have sought to obtain eternal life. (Barnes'
The experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He
has sent, transforms man into the image of God. It gives to man the
mastery of himself, bringing every impulse and passion of the lower
nature under the control of the higher powers of the mind. It makes its
possessor a son of God and an heir of heaven. It brings him into communion
with the mind of the Infinite, and opens to him the rich treasures of
the universe. COL114
Knowing God through experience is radically different than
knowing about God from a theology textbook. According to the Bible, you
cannot say you know God unless you have experienced Him (Php 3:8, 10).
Biblical knowledge always involves experience. You may become discouraged
because the truths you read about in the Bible are much richer than the
reality of your own experience.
If you have not experienced God's power at work in and through
your life, do not settle for a secondhand knowledge of God's power,
rejoicing in what He has done in others. Jesus' prayer was that you would
come to know God and His presence in your life and experience. Don't
discount the power of God as described in Scripture simply because you
have not experienced it. Bring your experience up to the standard of
Scripture, never reduce Scripture to the level of your experience. Don't
settle for a head knowledge of God's love. Jesus prayed that you would
experience the depth and width and height of His love and that you would
enjoy God's full and unending love in the day-to-day experiences of
If you sense there are biblical truths that you are not
experiencing, keep that truth before you and ask God to bring it into your
everyday experience. Ask God if there are any adjustments you need to
make in order to receive His promise. Don't give up on the promises
of God, stay with them until you are fully experiencing them.
[Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby re John 17:3]