Know (properly יָדִע, γινώσκω) is a term used in a variety of senses in the Scriptures. It signifies particularly to understand (Ru 3:11), to approve of and delight in (Ps 1:6; Ro 8:29), to cherish (Joh 10:27), to experience (Eph 3:19). In Job 7:10 it is used of an inanimate object: "He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more." By a euphemism it frequently denotes sexual connection (Ge 4:1; Mt 1:25). The other scriptural applications of the word are mostly obvious, as follows:
(1.) It imports to have acquired information respecting a subject.
(2.) It implies discernment, judgment, discretion; the power of discrimination. It may be partial; we see but in part, we know but in part (1Co 13:9).
(3.) It frequently signifies to have ascertained by experiment (Ge 22:12).
(4.) It implies discovery, detection; by the law is the knowledge of sin (Ro 3:20).
Natural knowledge is acquired by the senses, by sight, hearing, feeling, etc.; by reflection; by the proper use of our reasoning powers; by natural genius; dexterity improved by assiduity and cultivation into great skill. So of husbandry (Isa 28:29), of art and elegance (Ex 35:31), in the instance of Bezaleel. Spiritual knowledge is the gift of God, but may be improved by study, consideration, etc. SEE KNOWLEDGE.
Particular Phrases.-The priests' lips should keep knowledge (Mal 2:7); not keep it to themselves, but keep it in store for ethers; to communicate knowledge is the way to preserve it. Knowledge is spoken of as an emblematical person, as riches, and treasures, as excellency, and as the gift of God (Pr 1:29; Pr 8:10, etc.). SEE WISDOM. " Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth" (1Co 8:1); i.e. the knowledge of' speculative and useless things, which tend only to gratify curiosity and vanity, which contribute neither to our own salvation nor to our neighbor's, neither to the public good nor to God's glory; such knowledge is much more dangerous than profitable. The true science is that of salvation; the best employment of our knowledge is in sanctifying ourselves, in glorifying God, and in edifying our neighbor: this is the only sound knowledge (Pr 1:7).
God is the source and fountain of knowledge (1Sa 2:3; 2Ch 1:10; Jas 1:5). He knows all things, at all times, and in all places. SEE OMNISCIENCE. Jesus Christ is possessed of universal knowledge; knows the heart of man, and whatever appertains to his mediatorial kingdom (Joh 2:24-25; Joh 16:30; Col 2:3). Men know progressively, and ought to follow on to know the Lord (Ho 6:3); what we know not now we may know hereafter (Joh 13:7). Holy angels know in a manner much superior to man, and occasionally reveal part of their knowledge to him. Unholy angels know many things of which man is ignorant. The great discretion of life and of godliness is to discern what is desirable to be known, and what is best unknown; lest the knowledge of "good lost and evil got," as in the case of our first parents, should prove the lamentable source of innumerable evils (Ge 2:9; Ge 3:7).
Knowledge of God is indispensable, self-knowledge is important, knowledge of others is desirable; to be too knowing in worldly matters is often accessory to sinful knowledge; the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is a mean of escaping the pollutions which are in the world (Joh 17:3). Workers of iniquity have no knowledge, no proper conviction of the divine presence (Ps 14:4). Some men are brutish in their knowledge (Jer 51:17); e.g. he who knows that a wooden image is but a shapely-formed stump of a tree, yet worships it; he boasts of his deity, which, infact, is an instance of his want of discernment, degrading even to brutality (Isa 45:20). Some are wicked in their knowledge, "knowing th the depths of Satan, as they speak" (Re 2:20). SEE GNOSTICISM.