(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: When Secrets Surface by Dr Ken McGill)
God places great value and importance on us gaining and growing in knowledge, insight, perception, and understanding of Him, ourselves, our spouses, others and of course, about our behaviors and the impact of our behaviors (positive and negative) upon others. The definitions, “targets” and questions below will hopefully guide and assist you in your ability to become aware of the depth of knowledge God desires for you to integrate into your life on a day-to-day basis (John 16:12–15). As you “drill down, learn and operate” at this level of self-examination and depth of discovery with others, you position yourself to not only grow in intimacy with them but also to grow in your ability to cultivate understanding, empathy, compassion, mercy, wisdom and other expressions of Godliness.
As mentioned before, Knowledge is powerful, but Integrated Knowledge (“You will know the TRUTH” Part 3 of 3) is even more powerful. Integrated Knowledge helps you to obtain a more complete picture of any life situation you have experienced, or, are currently experiencing and most certainly, the direction and yet to be determined healthy behavior you will want to cultivate so that your behavior is edifying to others.
The words for (and to gain) Knowledge, as written in the Bible, are:
1. Knowledge (Ginosko): To come to know, through examination and/or experience, in addition, to gain or receive knowledge by inquiring to know the reason or cause. This word also speaks about attaining such a closeness and familiarity with the issue(s) we need to learn about that it is also used interchangeably in some passages of scripture to describe sexual intimacy. Target behavior for your consideration: Ask questions that help you to become (completely) aware of the origin of the situation at hand (How did this start? Why is this happening?). Take into consideration the words conveyed in the dialogue, the tone that you hear and the body language being demonstrated in order to capture the full message communicated to you in your conversation.
2. Knowledge (Epiginosko): As indicated in the prefix, this is a more “advanced and complete” form of knowledge in which we gain awareness by observing and using healthy forms of detection to learn about the specifics of people, things, situations, etc. It infers an outcome in which we recognize, acknowledge, discern and communicate that we have discovered the specifics. Target behavior for your consideration: Engage in a respectful fact-finding process in which you research all of the relevant details of why you and certainly the other person thinks, feels, responds, acts and behaves the way (s)he does. Demonstrate in your response(s) what you have learned and that you have learned something that helps you to “see the picture” more fully. What facts are you learning about yourself and the situation at hand that is important to know?
3. Knowledge (Oida): The meaning is two-fold: First, it describes Jesus’ relationship with God due to Jesus possessing an intimate awareness based on His familiarity and relationship with God. Second, the word denotes a “knowledgeability,” that is, to be able, to possess a skill, competence or expertise regarding something. Target behavior for your consideration: Your knowledgeable response is two-fold as well: First, which of your Spiritual Disciplines helps you to have a vibrant and conscious connection with God? Think about practicing the discipline(s) to enhance your connection with God so that you grow in your ability to demonstrate insight and awareness so that you eventually “know and then do the next right thing.” The second (as with all of these words), with what you are learning, what do you think you need to you apply consistently, dependably, reliably and predictably so that your repetition helps you to develop competence with what you are doing? Contextually, do you need to grow and become more competent in your ability to deliver mercy, compassion, understanding and empathy?
4. Perception (Aisthanomai): The word means “to recognize, understand and to have a sense about something.” Perception is intuitive knowledge, but it is also knowledge gained from previous experiences in which we recognize and remember that certain behaviors we engage in will yield predictable consequences and outcomes (i.e., we don’t touch the tops of stoves because we perceive they could be hot, based on our previous experiences). Target behavior for your consideration: Where in your life do you need to exercise greater perception (awareness of yourself and with others), realizing that it will lead to predictable outcomes and greater success in your behaviors and in your relationships?
5. Recognize/Insight (Aisthesis): This word means to have the ability to acknowledge concepts, detect meanings, form ideas and to make discriminating, “in-sight-full” and moral decisions on a consistent basis (reflecting your knowledge and understanding of what is right and wrong, good and bad, wise and foolish). The interesting thing about this word is that it infers diminishing effectiveness and capacity if we fail to practice it consistently. Target behavior for your consideration: Your Functional Adult Ego State functions like a computer, in that it fact-finds, analyzes situations, thinks creatively and solves problems collectively. Based on you applying recognition and insight, what wise personal and relational decisions do you need to make, based on the data (knowledge) you have gained up to this point? What additional insightful decisions need to be made? What good thing is your mind telling you to do?
6. Understanding (Syneimi): This compound word (“Together, with” + “to send, to put”) speaks to you achieving understanding by working with another person (and/or with God, but always with another), to collect and put together individual features of an object into a whole, as if you were collecting the pieces of a puzzle and assembling them together. Syneimi involves immediate knowledge, moral reflection, pondering, and “taking issues into the heart,” as opposed to merely reflecting on the meaning of something. Target behavior for your consideration: What specific and immediate issue or area, preferably, “one piece at a time,” do you need to work on with someone else in order to increase your understanding and to “get it” in your effort to see or understand the bigger picture?
7. Conscience (Syneidesis): Although not a compound word, the biblical definition of “Conscience” has an “a” + “b” part: First, it is defined as self-knowledge, and your capability to “be conscious” (aware) in your ability to know yourself. Second, it speaks to that part of your mind that “bears witness about your own moral conduct.” This form of knowledge helps you to distinguish between right and wrong, and prompts you to choose the former (right) and avoid the latter (wrong). Target behavior for your consideration: What is the Spirit of God, through what could be a quiet, inner voice, prompting (and possibly convicting) you to do that is good, that you have not wanted to hear, heed or act upon? If so moved, what “corrective behaviors” is your conscience prompting you to implement?
8. Think (Phronesis)/Wisdom (Sophia): Here is the connector to the TRUTH. All of the words above lead you “to think” about your life, your behaviors, your circumstances and your relationships. Phronesis encourages you to “develop a mindset to exercise good judgment in order to govern your own life wisely.” Gaining and applying insightful and inspired knowledge about yourself and others will help you to cultivate the skill and care(fullness) to use your own resources, personal, human, spiritual, cognitive, relational, etc., wisely. As you grow in knowledge, INTEGRATE TRUTH (Part 3 of 3), and with continued practice (Philippians 4: 8–9), become good at it. BY doing this, you’ll not only change your life “philosophy” (“lover” + “wisdom”; Sophia = Wisdom), but you will become wise as well. Target behavior for your consideration: You have an opportunity to think through and answer the question “How shall I live (my life)? In light of you becoming aware of how different forms of knowledge could help you, what personal and systemic changes do you make, so that your end result resembles someone who is becoming skilled at living?