Theology (the study or understanding of God) should lead us to greater doxology (the physical act of worship to God).
We live in a day and age where we have greater access to information than ever before. What was once man’s extensive expedition through the bible for insight is now man’s expeditious enquiry through google. With this greater access to information on God and Christianity whether from the internet, weekly Sunday sermons, our favourite preacher’s podcast or even an article from an acclaimed theologian; the average Christian is exposed to a plethora of information on our beautiful Creator and the beauty of His creation.
Gratefully considering the blessing that this is for us, it has also created the possibility of us as followers of Jesus to substitute an intimate relationship with him for the intellectual knowledge of Him. We can learn all about the details of God and completely miss the God of the details. “If you have theology without doxology, you just have dead, cold orthodoxy”. Put differently, the understanding of God without the worship of God is just information.
Ephesians 3:18-19 NIV
“…may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
When we read this text it can easily be misunderstood that Paul’s language is redundant. To “know” the love of Christ which surpasses “knowledge”? Paul, would not knowing Christ result in us having knowledge? Perhaps in the limited English language but not so in the more expansive Greek language. In this text, Paul uses two different meanings for the words “know” and “knowledge”:
“to know the love of Christ” is the Greek word Ginosko (revelational knowledge).
“which surpasses knowledge” is the Greek word Gnosis (intellectual knowledge).
Simply put: “and to know (have a revelation) this love that surpasses intellectual knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
If this scripture reigns as truth, then why is it that we find an excess of theologians who are dead in the faith? Could it be because they (including us) substitute intimately knowing God (Ginosko) with an intellectual knowledge of God (Gnosis)?
God does not merely want us to know of His goodness and His grace and His mercy but to taste and see, to dive in and to experience the depths; to intimately get a revelational knowledge about Him. God desires to be known by us.
So for us followers of the way and for us gift-crafters for the gift-giver; as we grow in sharpening our axe, preparing our shepherds’ bags with stones to slay giants and as we grow in the intellectual knowledge of our glorious God to write and create pieces of art that reflect the greatest artist of all; above attributing to the church and world, above all else, may it lead us into greater worship, greater intimacy and greater living for the one who created us so that we may know (Ginosko) him.