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Knowledge That Surpasses Knowledge

There is an interesting verse in Ephesians 3:19 whose mere verbiage invites us to inquire more about what it means. It is part of one of the long run-on sentences that Paul liked to use in his writings, so I will cite the whole verse so we can see what we are looking at here.

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)

The part I placed in bold letters is the section I want to give particular attention to because it is nonsensical at first glance. How do we know that is beyond knowledge? The different translations I looked at for this verse offered little additional insight as the basic problem of knowing something beyond knowing persists in other English translations too.

But this is not something we can simply skip over. The second half of verse 19 explains why: that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. When we know this love of Christ which is beyond knowledge, that is the gateway to our being filled with the fullness of God.

That’s what I want! That is transformation, healing, wholeness, and maturity! It is why seeking to resolve the perplexity of this odd choice of wording here is essential for us.

Looking at the original Greek language on these hardly sheds new light on the verse. The words know, and knowledge comes from the same base Greek word, ginosko (Click on the link for an exploration into ginosko we did in a previous study of the Gospel of John). Ginosko can be simple mental awareness, but it can also be more. Often in scripture, when we see the Greek word translated to ginosko, we see a type of knowledge and understanding that impacts our perceptions and resulting actions. Ginosko is not only head knowledge. It is knowledge and understanding that change the way we respond. It is experiential knowledge.

So we can recalibrate Ephesians 3:19 like this: to experience an understanding of the love Christ which passes mental awareness.

 That is the gateway to being filled with all the fullness of God. This is revelation knowledge. It is a knowledge and understanding that occurs when God interacts with our life journey and imprints Himself on our inner being.

Revelation Knowledge

knowledge that surpasses knowledge

Paul even talks about revelation knowledge a few verses earlier in chapter 3. After describing the glorious grace of God unveiled in Christ, he says, “the mystery was made known to me by revelation…”(Eph 3:3). The Greek word for revelation is apokalypsis and means an unveiling or revealing. In the next verse, he adds, “By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery…” In other words, the personal revelation can be imparted to others.

Revelation knowledge is the most profound knowledge of God. It is beyond the mind and the rules of the mind. It is not bound to the regulations of rationalism, sequence, or anything that our mind requires for us to grasp and understand a truth. Revelation knowledge is God showing an aspect of Himself to us, we take hold of the truth, and it changes us.

There have been a handful of these moments in my personal journey, and they are usually unexpected. They quickly became defining moments for me, and I have talked about some of them in the podcast devotionals before. They explained who God was and how He worked in my life. When revelation knowledge (apokalypsisginosko) comes, we do not need to be convinced. We merely believe. In that belief, our faith opens the door for the fullness of God to touch down in our hearts and change us.

Our heart’s cry to God is for knowledge that surpasses knowledge. We want revelation knowledge of God. We want to see and know Him at a personal level that goes beyond our minds. This is the pathway to transformation, maturity, wholeness, and healing. This is the glory of the lifestyle Christ secured for us. And when it touches us, we can share it with others.

Access the episodes in our podcast series on the book of Ephesians here.

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JB Shreve

JB Shreve is the host of the JB Shreve podcast and the End of History podcast channels. He is the author of multiple books.

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