We examine the essential principle that knowledge of God is the precursor to genuinely loving Him. This concept is integral to Christian doctrine and practice.
The Link Between Knowledge and Love of God
The relationship between knowing and loving God is profound and symbiotic:
Scriptural Basis: The commandment to love God is often accompanied by the call to know Him. For example, in Matthew 22:37, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5, emphasizing love for God, which is deeply connected to the call for understanding and knowledge in Deuteronomy 6:6.
Depth of Relationship: Knowledge of God’s character, His works, and His will is essential for a deep, authentic love for Him. One cannot truly love what one does not know.
The Progression from Knowledge to Love
Understanding God’s nature and actions leads to a deeper affection for Him:
Appreciation of God’s Attributes: As believers learn more about God’s attributes—His love, justice, mercy, and holiness—their appreciation and love for Him naturally grow.
Response to God’s Actions: Knowledge of God’s actions, especially His redemptive work through Jesus Christ, fosters a profound sense of gratitude and love.
Implications for Christian Living
This understanding has significant implications for how Christians live and worship:
Basis for Worship: True worship stems from an understanding and appreciation of who God is. The depth of our worship is directly correlated to the depth of our knowledge of God.
Motivation for Obedience: Love for God, rooted in knowledge of Him, becomes the primary motivation for obedience and service.
Overcoming Barriers to Knowing and Loving God
While understanding and loving God is fundamental, there are barriers that need to be overcome:
Misconceptions About God: Incorrect or incomplete views of God can hinder our ability to truly love Him.
Integrating Heart and Mind: There needs to be a balance between intellectual understanding and heartfelt affection. Neither should exist in isolation.
Conclusion: Prioritizing the Knowledge of God to Cultivate Love
Emphasizing the knowledge of God as a prerequisite for loving Him changes the paradigm of Christian devotion. It encourages believers to seek a deeper understanding of God, knowing that such knowledge will lead to a more profound and genuine love for Him. This journey of discovery is not just an intellectual pursuit, but a holistic one, involving both the mind and the heart in growing closer to God.
About the Author
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 220+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).