When do you feel like you “know” something as opposed to just “believing” it?
I know that the Earth is round, or at least I think that I “know” that. But really, I don’t have any direct eye-witness evidence of that. I have heard others explain it to me, and explain why the evidence we have points to that as a fact. I guess I have believed them, but why? Because I trusted the source? I don’t doubt that the Earth is round. I feel like I “know” it as a fact that I don’t need to question.
I’m currently taking an on-line class on the Book of Acts from a well regarded seminary .
It is totally amazing to hear the Book of Acts discussed in depth by Christian scholars who’ve spent tens or dozens of years studying it. There is so much detail that I never would have noticed if someone hadn’t pointed it out, tied it to other parts of the Bible, and explained its significance.
Of course I am learning a ton about early Church history and theology. I love learning these things. And I have noticed that studying Acts in depth is moving some things about the history of the early church – not only “what” happened but “how” and “why” it happened and what it means – from the category of things I “believe” to the category of things I “know” — even as I become more aware that what I think I “know” could be wrong. Maybe I misunderstand or misinterpret – or maybe a different teacher would teach it differently. But even so, it still feels more like it is going into the “knowledge” bucket rather than the “belief” bucket. I love really studying the Word of God.
Does that make any sense?
It reminds me of another time in my life, when I was pregnant. My doctor handed me an insipid little pink book titled, “So you’re having a baby!” that explained almost nothing and reassured the reader that she didn’t need to know anything else because her doctor knew everything about it so she didn’t need to. That went over like a lead balloon in my mind, and I immediately went to the library and started reading obstetrics textbooks. I didn’t want shallow reassurances that somebody else understood what was happening inside my body, so I didn’t need to. I wanted to know everything there was to know about it. I read everything from early midwives’ journals to contemporary obstetrics textbooks.
I’m feeling almost exactly the same way about God’s Word these days too.