Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom
During worship recently, the Lord spoke three words to me and “downloaded” the understanding of those words, and how they are tied together. The three words were: Knowledge, Understanding and Appropriation. What He showed me was that these are three levels, if you will, of Bible reading/knowledge.
The first is simply knowledge. Anyone can read the Bible and obtain knowledge about the people, the customs, the stories, the history, etc. In fact, many worldly scholars have read the Bible without any sort of heart change because they didn’t have understanding. 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” The natural man has only head knowledge of the Bible.
The second is understanding. When we become children of God and read the scriptures, they are opened up to us in a whole new way. Now we have the Spirit of God leading unto all truth. John 16:13 says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” And 1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” All of our lives, we will be growing in understanding as we continue to submit to Christ in all things. How many times have you read, or heard, a verse or passage several times before, but then the next time you hear it, it sounds fresh and new and personal? This is one way we grow in understanding. Here is where I have lived most of my Christian walk, and I believe many others get “stuck” here too. We believe what God says in His Word, and we know it has power, but we aren’t fully applying it to our lives. Perhaps the root is that we often don’t really believe the promises are for us. They were for Israel, for Paul, for our sick friend who was healed, but for us? That’s where we struggle and wrestle with our understanding.
The final way is through appropriation. It isn’t exactly the best word, but it’s the one the Lord used so I would know what He meant. Appropriation is the act of taking something for yourself or for your own use. This one is a little trickier to explain as it actually has components that tie together. In this context one part is recognizing that we are to believe God to the degree that we take His word at face-value and believe what He is says IS for us. Another part is applying what you know from scripture, based on that new shift in belief-system so that your mind, will and emotions all begin to change to line up to the Word. Then finally, we learn to accept and decree God’s promises for ourselves, for our families, for healing, for protection, for provision, etc. THIS is the level we are called to live at and is absolutely tied to where we place our identity. A more appropriate description is what the bible calls “wisdom”.
I then saw all of this in a sort of correlation graph:
Knowledge = head or flesh
Understanding = spirit (His Spirit testifies with our spirit)
Appropriation = soul (Identity shift where now our mind, will and emotions can line up with His word)
Almost immediately after getting this “download”, I asked “is this You, Lord?” I didn’t get a response right away. However, when the pastor began to preach, he shared a story about witnessing God’s power in action for the first time and asking himself, “Why don’t we see more of this? Why isn’t the church full of people demonstrating God’s power?” At that very moment I knew for certain that I had heard from God during worship…because He gave me the answer before the questions were posed!
My identity for most of my life has been tied to many things, but regrettably it was not tied to who GOD says I AM. Not who I was, but who I AM in Him. A new creation. I had plenty of Bible knowledge, a fair degree of understanding from walking with Him for so long, but I’m just recently learning to really BELIEVE Him on a whole new level. Everything we think about God, ourselves, and the world around us comes from the filter of who we believe we are. If we believe we are anything other than what scripture tells us we are, we have the wrong filter, which creates a faulty belief system. There are many verses and passages that tell us who we are in Christ, but here are a few that we need to really grab ahold of and see ourselves in a new light.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
~ 1 Peter 2:9 ~
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons (and daughters) of God.”
~ Romans 8:19 ~
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~