Galatians 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. 9 Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? 10 You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.
Here is an interesting quote from one of my bible resources (College Press NIV Commentary: Galatians and Ephesians):
While the two Greeks words for “know” in v. 8 and v. 9 are synonyms meaning much the same thing, there is still a shade of difference in their meaning. In v. 8 the word “know” reflects the Greek word οἰ̂δα (oida), which sometimes means merely that a fact has come within the scope of someone’s perception. On the other hand the word used in v. 9 is γινώσκω (ginōskō), which usually goes beyond mental perception to describe the forming of a relationship with someone through actual involvement with that person. The two verses set in juxtaposition seem to say this: “You previously did not even know who God is, but in Christ you actually met God and entered an intimate relationship with him.”
I find this distinction fascinating. Before they’d met the apostle Paul, the Christians in Galatia were ignorant of God. Like most people in their native culture they’d served gods made of wood and stone. But then, having received the gospel of Jesus Christ, they’d come to know God in a personal way.
There is a sequence illustrated here. Ignorance, then understanding, then relationship. Some people refer to this transition as one’s faith moving “from the head to the heart”. As I reflect on the passage I know that I’m still making this transition myself. Yes, I’ve spent many years studying and learning about the faith, but too much of my faith is more in my head than my heart. It’s more understanding than relationship.
So this morning I’m praying for the Lord to help me get to know him, understanding this requires an investment of time to be with the Lord. Relationship cannot be rushed – with people or with God. That’s just the way it is.
Heavenly Father, I really want to know you more. Give me grace to pursue you, and be pursued by you. Amen.