Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Know

I love the Bible.  I love to read it and study it and learn about the cultures in which it was written.  But I'm horrible at memorization.  I couldn't tell you chapter and verse of even a handful of verses, but it's in my soul and I love to study it, write it down, rewrite it, and just simply marinate in it.

I've always known, since I was a child that the Bible was written originally in two languages.  The Old Testament in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek.  Yeah, ok, so what?  I was reading it in English, the language of my culture.

A number of years ago now I was in a women's bible study when I got my first glimpse in regards to the richness of the Hebrew and Greek language.  The teacher took an English word in the Bible and showed us the deep rooted significance of the original word - I don't remember if it was a Hebrew or a Greek word - I just remember thinking "Wow!"  I got hooked!

Translators of the Bible have a very hard task, and much has been discussed in theological circles about translation, which I won't bore you with here.  But I will say, it is a very hard thing to do to stay true to the original language while translating it for the person who is reading it without losing the significance of the Truth of its message.  I have a hard enough time speaking "man-ese" to my husband to get him to understand a woman's point of view. I can't imagine the difficulty of translating scripture for other cultures and languages.

So when I, this beyond my FDA approved weight and BMI gray-haired nurse, with no language degrees or even a legitimate language class credit attempts to understand the nuances and inflections of words I'll never be able to pronounce fluently, tries to see beyond the English word for a millennial old Hebrew word, I get a little shaky in my boots.

I shake alittle more when I put this out on the world wide web and think about who might be reading this if I'm off on something.  I sooooooooo don't want to lead someone down a rabbit hole.  And I also don't ever want to negate the importance of translators, especially Bible translators, but sometimes I come across an English word in my studies that, when I look up the passage in the original language, I do say to myself, "there are certainly better English words to convey this word in Hebrew or Greek!"

I don't mean that at as a know-it-all, I just mean it as this:  Really?  That's the best you could do to describe this rich, beautiful visual word?

All that being said, here is one of those words.


 Two particularly interesting Greek words which are translated Know and also are translated as recognized, understand, learned, felt, evidence in English in the NIV are:

Ginosko and Oida

Neither of them suggest a head knowledge only of something.  Maybe there is head knowledge or an awareness which could be called "knowing," but these two words suggest learning from experience - ginosko - and intuition - oida.

You know what you know what you know.  You don't just know it in your head, you know it in your heart, your soul, your mind, from the tip of your head to the bottom of your feet.  You KNOW!

Here are just two places where these words are used in the Bible.

Mark 5:29:  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt - ginosko - in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

Mark 5:32:  Then the woman, knowing - oida - what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.

So I guess what I want to tell you is this, knowing isn't always a head knowledge.  To know something isn't just knowing the facts.  To know someone or something in a ginosko or oida kind of way is to go beyond that.  When you come across the word "Know" in your Bible, don't just assume it's a head knowledge knowing.

There are many times it is a head knowledge knowing, and that kind of know is important.  But there is a knowing that goes beyond what a book can teach you or a teacher can describe to you.  Or even what my words here can do for you.

Jesus said if we hold to his teachings we are really his disciples.  Then, he said, you will ginosko the truth, and the truth will set you free.  (John 8:32).  It wasn't just a head knowledge of him, but a knowledge that is acquired by being exposed to something, knowing by learning and experience.

You can have head knowledge of truth, but truth only frees you when you ginosko the Truth.  When it's taught to you through experience, exposure, or intimate exposure with him - like the woman who had had a period for 12 years!  Go back and read the whole story - it's awesome!

When you ginosko the truth the truth will set you free!


Thoughts to chew on:
1.  Is your faith in Christ more head knowledge, just the facts, or a ginosko and oida knowledge?
2.  If your faith is head knowledge only, what's keeping you from seeking a ginosko or oida knowledge?
3.  If your faith is more ginosko or oida what are you doing to gain more head knowledge?


  1. I have always found it impressive when people can recall word for word and verse for verse. I admire that skill but, like you, I do not possess it either. Shawn from Laughing at Life 2

  2. Thank you for teaching me something I did not know.