It should be the desire of every believer to grow in knowledge and understanding of God. This pursuit of knowing God will require some steps. It doesn’t happen by osmosis or just talking about it – you will need to put some action behind it. For this reason, I want to share with you five ways to grow your knowledge and understanding of God.
What Does It Mean to Have Knowledge of God?
To have knowledge is to have facts, information, or awareness of something or someone. When we have knowledge of God, we understand his nature, his character, and who he is. This process of growing your knowledge and understanding of God will require you to engage with God on three different levels.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Whether you realize it or not, growing in understanding of God starts out as an intellectual pursuit. We must engage our minds because it is there where we process information that helps us begin to understand who God is.
Sometimes, connecting our minds doesn’t seem very spiritual, but it is and most importantly it starts the process. Jesus even commanded us in loving God that we love him with all our heart, soul and mind (Matt. 22:37).
However, for you to really know God, it must become more than just a mental or intellectual pursuit. If it never advances beyond that, then you will end up with an academic understanding of who God is and not move to relationship with him. That’s why the Pharisees were able to quote Scripture and knew the law, but missed who Jesus was. Their knowledge was intellectual and never moved beyond that.
The second level where we engage with God is experiential. Part of growing in understanding of God is not just learning facts and information; you must experience who he is. When you experience who God is, it takes the facts that you have learned and it makes them come alive. They move from the place of just being words to becoming life to you.
The third level we engage God is spiritual, and this is where true fellowship and communion with God happens. While it involves our mind as part of the experience, we commune with God in relationship when our spirit connects with his spirit.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
I want to stress it’s the combination of these things together that sets the stage for you to understand more of who God is. For instance, you cannot grow in knowledge and understanding of God and leave your mind out of the process. Neither can you truly be in awe of who God is until you experience his presence. These three things work together, and they form the foundation of you growing in your knowledge of who God is.
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5 Ways to Grow Our Knowledge and Understanding of God
How do we move this from a theoretical exercise to practical action steps? For as long as I have been saved and for all the different ideas and suggestions out there, I keep coming back to these steps as the only way you really can grow and know God more.
1. You Must Spend Time in the Word
It is impossible to grow in your knowledge and understanding of God if you neglect his word. God carefully crafted his word over 1500 years and within it he reveals who he is. If you want to know more of who he is, it will require that you spend time reading the Bible.
I know this first way is not very revolutionary and it may even seem basic, but this is fundamental to your understanding of who God is. Knowing God and reading his word are inseparable, and the former cannot happen without the latter.
2. You Must Spend Time in Worship
As I mentioned earlier, knowing God can begin as an intellectual pursuit, but it cannot stay there. One of the beauties of reading the Bible is that it positions you to get revelation of who God is. Revelation is that point where what you know intellectually comes to life as if the truth of who God is leaps off the pages. When this happens, this leads to worship.
Worship is when you begin the process of connecting your spirit with God’s spirit. It is in this place of worship that your sense of awe and wonder of who God is grows. Worship is the catalyst that allows you to enter into God’s presence, and when you experience his presence you experience all that comes with it. His joy, his peace and just how majestic he really is.
3. You Must Spend Time in Prayer
One of the byproducts of worship is that it can increase your faith because as God gets bigger in your eyes so does your faith. That’s why I always recommend people begin their time of prayer with worship because it will help your prayer life.
Prayer is the place where your communion happens. It is where your spirit connects with God’s spirit, and that is where that communion and intimacy occurs. Prayer is also where you can experience some of the character of God. This is where you are filled with his joy, where you are embraced by his love, where you are overwhelmed by peace, when you are awed by his presence. This all happens in prayer. That’s why prayer is one of the critical ways to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God.
4. You Must Spend Time Learning from Others
One of the beautiful things about our journey of faith is that we don’t walk this journey alone. There are many testimonies of those who walk with us and those who have walked before us which can help us learn more of who God is. One of the best ways to learn of God’s faithfulness is to hear of it in the lives of others. In the old days we called this a testimony service, and these testimonies were living lessons helping us to know more of who God is.
Whenever you can find time to talk with those who have been walking with God, whether for a short while or over many years, when you hear their life stories, you will likely discover a treasure trove of perspective about who God is and how he works in people’s lives.
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5. You Must Depend on the Holy Spirit
As great as all these steps are, the Holy Spirit is the glue that makes it all work. Without him, then these are just great suggestions. There is no desire to read the word without the Holy Spirit. There is no understanding of who God is or any revelation without the Holy Spirit. There is no real depth in prayer without the Holy Spirit. He is critical and is the most important of all the ways you grow in the knowledge or understanding of who God is.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and there is no understanding truth about God without him. Learn to lean on him and allow him to teach you everything you need to know about who God is.
A Prayer to Always Be Growing Closer to God
Lord today I ask your Holy Spirit to teach me about who you are. Let me not just know you in my mind, but allow me to engage you with my heart. Give me the desire and discipline to read your Word, and as I do let the truth of who you are leap off the pages and into my heart. I thank you in advance for everything you will reveal as I commit to getting to know you.
In Jesus Name,
Growing in the knowledge and understanding of God is not a one-time event, but a lifelong pursuit. The wonderful thing is you can learn and know as much about God as you want. The choice is up to you. God is waiting to sit with you and show you great and wonderful things that go beyond anything you could ever imagine. But you must make time for him. When you do, then you will begin to grow and understand who he is and that will be a pursuit that is time well spent.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author ofThe Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.