We are creatures of “knowledge.” Our entire existence is shaped by what we know and how we know. According to the Bible, there is a regular, run-of-the-mill knowledge, and then there is a kind of knowledge that operates at a deeper, wider, higher level.
“We know that we all have knowledge (gnosis). Knowledge (gnosis) puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1).
Paul wants us to understand that knowledge without love is worthless—and worse than worthless, it makes us arrogant.
In Ephesians 1, Paul prays that we will receive, “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge (epignosis) of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17-18).
Here he uses the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis, with the prefix epi, which is a grammatical amplifier. Epignosis is deep knowledge, crucial knowledge, super knowledge. Later, in Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays that we will “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge (gnosis).” There is a knowing that surpasses all common knowledge. If you know the love of Christ, you are intelligent on an otherworldly level. Epignosis isn’t necessarily a greater quantity of knowledge, but rather a higher quality of knowledge that informs everything else you know.
If you know the love of Christ, you are intelligent on an otherworldly level.
Jesus indicted the Pharisees because they had “taken away the key of knowledge (gnosis)” from the people (Luke 11:52), which He earlier identified as “justice and the love of God” (verse 42). Think about what Jesus is saying. To know the “justice and the love of God” is to possess “the key” that unlocks all other knowledge. Knowing God experientially operates like a clarifying lens that helps us make sense out of everything else in life.
Peter tells us that epignosis exerts a transformative influence over us:
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (epignosis) of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge (epignosis) of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2-4).
Epignosis—the super knowledge of God’s love—is pretty powerful. It is the means by which grace and peace multiply in our lives. Through it we become partakers of the divine character and escape the corruption that pervades our world and causes so much pain.