Understanding Epignosis: Complete Knowledge
Colossians 1:9-12 KJV+ ForG1223 this causeG5124 weG2249 also,G2532 sinceG575 the(G3739) dayG2250 we heardG191 it, do notG3756 ceaseG3973 to prayG4336 forG5228 you,G5216 andG2532 to desireG154 thatG2443 ye might be filledG4137 with theG3588 knowledgeG1922 of hisG846 willG2307 inG1722 allG3956 wisdomG4678 andG2532 spiritualG4152 understanding;G4907 (10) That yeG5209 might walkG4043 worthyG516 of theG3588 LordG2962 untoG1519 allG3956 pleasing,G699 being fruitfulG2592 inG1722 everyG3956 goodG18 work,G2041 andG2532 increasingG837 inG1519 theG3588 knowledgeG1922 of God;G2316 (11) StrengthenedG1412 withG1722 allG3956 might,G1411 accordingG2596 to hisG846 gloriousG1391 power,G2904 untoG1519 allG3956 patienceG5281 andG2532 longsufferingG3115 withG3326 joyfulness;G5479 (12) Giving thanksG2168 unto theG3588 Father,G3962 which hath made us meetG2427 G2248 to be partakersG1519 G3310 of theG3588 inheritanceG2819 of theG3588 saintsG40 inG1722 light:G5457
The Greek word translated knowledge here is the word ‘epignosis’:
Thayer Definition: 1) precise and correct knowledge 1a) used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine
God wants us to have this complete revelation knowledge (2 Cor. 4.6) of Himself, that is why He had the apostle Paul pray this prayer; it is a prayer we should all pray for ourselves daily.
What then is the complete knowledge of God?
It is the complete knowledge of His character, His power and His purpose.
In principle, the complete knowledge of God is the complete knowledge of Him in these three areas. Recall God’s number for perfection is three because there are 3 persons in the Godhead (1Jn. 5. 7). Furthermore, His character is 3-fold: love, justice and righteousness (Jer. 9.24); His power is 3-fold: power of Godliness (2 Tm. 3.5), power of protection (including healing and deliverance (Ac. 10.38)) and power to get wealth (Dt. 8.18); His purpose is 3-fold: to get men born-again (Passover), filled with the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) and then to be made perfect like Jesus (Tabernacles).
Observe that complete knowledge of God is 3-fold in each of the 3 aspects of character, power and purpose.
God has revealed Himself in this triple 3-fold manner so that we may know this revelation of Himself is true and certain:
Genesis 41:32 MKJV: And since the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
Proverbs 22:20-21 KJV+ Have notH3808 I writtenH3789 to thee excellent thingsH7991 in counselsH4156 and knowledge,H1847 (21) That I might make thee knowH3045 the certaintyH7189 of the wordsH561 of truth;H571 that thou mightest answerH7725 the wordsH561 of truthH571 to them that sendH7971 unto thee?
The Hebrew word ‘excellent things’ means 3-fold things:
BDB Definition: 1) third part; 1a) name of a measure 2) a musical instrument; 2a) maybe three-stringed, triangular shape, or three-barred; 2b) perhaps a sistrum or triangle
The principle here is whenever God repeats a revelation twice or thrice then that revelation is true, certain and established:
2 Corinthians 13:1 MKJV: I am coming to you this third time. In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.
Now, how can you increase in the complete knowledge of God since it is ‘complete or perfect’?
It is complete in principle, but you can and should increase in the details of the knowledge of God.
So we are to increase in the knowledge of the details of His character, His power and His purpose.
Now, the complete knowledge of God’s character is the knowledge of His loving-kindness, justice and righteousness:
Jeremiah 9:24 ESV 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.”
It is vital to know that God’s character is 3-fold: love, righteousness and justice. He is not love alone; His love is interwoven with and so includes His justice and righteousness.
If all you know is the love or goodness of God, then, you do not have the complete knowledge of God.
Sometimes, God’s love is shown through His acts of justice and righteousness in words and deeds of rebuke and chastening:
Revelation 3:19 MKJV As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent.
1 Kings 14:7-13 MKJV Go tell Jeroboam, So says Jehovah, the God of Israel, I lifted you up from among the people, and made you ruler over My people Israel, (8) and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you. And you have not been as My servant David who kept My commandments, and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes. (9) But you have done evil above all who were before you, for you have gone and made yourself other gods, and molded images, to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back; (10) therefore, behold, I will bring evil on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam everyone who urinates against the wall, bound and free in Israel, and will sweep away the rest of the house of Jeroboam, as a man sweeps away the dung, until it is all gone. (11) Those of Jeroboam who die in the city, the dogs shall eat. And those who die in the field, the fowls of the air shall eat. For Jehovah has spoken. (12) And arise, get down to your own house. When your feet enter into the city, the boy shall die. (13) And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him. For he only of Jeroboam shall come down to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward Jehovah, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam.
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 MKJV (1) On the whole it is reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even named among the nations, so as one to have his father’s wife. (2) And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, so that he who has done this deed may be taken from your midst. (3) For as being absent in body but present in spirit, I indeed have judged already as though I were present concerning him who worked out this thing; (4) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, with my spirit; also, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ; (5) to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Romans 11:22 ESV Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
It is vital now for God’s people to have this complete knowledge of God. In our article next week we will see why this is vital NOW and how to get and increase in the revelation of this complete, perfect knowledge of God.