What Knowing God Involves

“The more complex the object, the more complex is the knowing of it.” [p.35]


We know things differently. The effort, attitude, and time we spend on knowing different things depend on the nature of the things that we are knowing. Consider the list below:

  • Knowing a language
  • Knowing an inanimate object.
  • Knowing a living thing
    • Animals
    • Person
    • Friends

According to J.I. Packer, “The quality and extent of our knowledge of other people depend on them than on us.” This is far different from knowing inanimate things. It means that we truly know a person only when he disclosed himself to us. If this is true of any person, it is much more true when it comes to knowing someone “above us” (higher in rank, intellect, professional skills, etc.)

“The more conscious we are of our own inferiority, the more we shall feel that our part is simply to attend to this person respectfully and let him take the initiative in the conversation.”

We won’t treat the president the way we treat our friends. We won’t treat our teachers the way we treat our younger brothers or sisters. If this is true on the human level, it is also true when it comes to God, the Creator of all things.

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 9:24 ESV


#1 Knowing God involves knowing Him as far above us.

“Knowing God is a relationship calculated to thrill a person’s heart.” God is not like us. We learned it in our previous lessons. He is the infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent… Being.

The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far (stoops) down on the heavens and the earth?

Psalms 113:4-6 ESV

God is…

  • The Almighty Creator
  • The LORD of hosts
  • The Great Redeemer
  • The Holy One of Israel

#2 Knowing God involves knowing ourselves as inferior to Him.

J.I. Packer pointedly remarks, “As you listen to what God is saying, you find yourself very low; for God talks to you about your sin, and guilt, and weakness, and blindness, and folly, and compels you to judge yourself hopeless and helpless, and to cry out for forgiveness.”

In knowing God, we must maintain the Creator-creature distinction. He is the Holy One, we are but dust. He is the perfect and sovereign Ruler, we are but sinful, wretched, and poor sinners. We must always keep this in mind, lest we fall into the temptation of despising God in our endeavor to know Him.

Though God is high and exalted, He condescended that we might know Him. We do not deserve to be heard. We do not deserve to be saved. But He sent His Son to live a perfect life, die a criminal’s death for our sake that we may truly know God in Him.

As we continue to know God, consider J.I. Packer’s four important truths in order to know God truly:

  • Listening to God’s Word and receiving it as the Holy Spirit interprets it, in application to oneself.
  • Noting God’s nature and character, as His Word and works reveal it.
  • Accepting His invitations and doing what He commands.
  • Recognizing and rejoicing in the love that He has shown in Christ.

Questions for meditation:

  • How will the fact that you are knowing Someone “above us” affect your attitude toward knowing God?
  • Why it is important to know that we are inferior to God when we know Him?

Note: This is from our Youth Bible Study. Citations are from Packer, J. I. (1993). Knowing God. Intervarsity Press.

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

3 thoughts on “What Knowing God Involves

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