Exploring God's Amazing Word
18 Bible Studies on Positive Living in Christ.
The Word is amazing in its effect upon humanity. Lives have been changed as its truths have been applied. You will be inspired to see yourself as blessed with Heaven's best. Word studies, topical studies, expository studies. How far do you want to go with God's Word? 180 pages. IN STOCK.
Adapted from the booklet of the same name by E.W. Bullinger.
You can save this page as a text file from your browser (File / Save As) and read it off-line. It is about 14K.
The Christian's Greatest Need
by E.W. Bullinger
There is one thing that the Christian needs more than he needs any other thing. One thing on which all others rest; and on which all others turn.
It is certain from the Word of God, and also from our own experience, that "we know not what we should pray for as we ought". But "the Spirit Himself helpeth our infirmities" (Romans 8:26). He knoweth what we should pray for. He knoweth what we need. He maketh intercession for us and in us. He teacheth us how to pray, and in Ephesians 1:17, we have His prayer set forth in these words: "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in
the knowledge of him."
| || ||
This, then, must be our greatest need: A true knowledge of God.|
If the Holy Spirit thus puts it before all other things, it must be because it is more important than any other thing; yea, than all others put together.
This, it is, that lies at the foundation of the Christian Faith; at the threshold of Christian life.
It is the essence of all trust.
We cannot trust a person if we do not know him. At least, it is safer for us not to do so; and as a rule we do not.
But on the other hand, when we know a person thoroughly well, we cannot help trusting him!. No effort to trust is required when we perfectly know a person. The difficulty then is, not to trust.
Why, then, do we not thus trust God? Is not the answer clear? It is because we do not know Him!
Thus we see how this knowledge of God is our greatest need; the very first step of our Christian course. Our trust will ever be in proportion to our knowledge.
If we knew, for example, a billionth part of God's infinite wisdom, we should see our own to be such utter folly, that we should not merely be "willing" for His will, but we should desire it. It would be our greatest happiness for Him to do and arrange all for us. We should say, "Lord, I am so foolish and ignorant; I know nothing, and can do nothing; I can see only this present moment; I know nothing of to-morrow. But Thou canst see the end from the beginning. Thy wisdom is infinite, and thy love is infinite; for, our Saviour and Lord could say of us to Thee, as Thy beloved Son -- "Thou hast loved them, as thou has loved me" (John 17:23). Do, then, Thine own will. This is my desire, the desire of my heart. This is what I long for above 'all things.'"
This is far beyond being "willing". We may be willing for a thing, because we cannot help it. It may be even a low form of Christian fatalism. A Mahommedan may be thus resigned to the will his god.
But what we are speaking of is far, far beyond the modern gospel of holiness; far in advance of merely being "willing".
Those who are in the still lower condition; not "willing," but "willing to be made willing," do not see that this condition arises from not knowing God; not knowing how infinite is His love, how vast is His wisdom, how blessed and how sweet is His will. If they did but know something of this, they would yearn for His will. It would be the one great earnest desire and longing of their hearts for Him to do exactly what is pleasing in His own sight, in us, and for us, and through us.
Not knowing this secret, Christians, everywhere, are striving and labouring to be "willing" by looking at themselves; and by some definite "act of faith" to do something of themselves. Instead of thinking of His wisdom and His love, they are thinking of themselves and of their "surrender".
But this is labour in vain. Even if it should seem to accomplish something, it is only like tying paper flowers on a plant. They may look natural and fair; but they have no scent, and no life; no fruit, and no seed. It is an artificial, fictitious attempt to produce that which, if they did but know God, would come of itself, without an effort: yea, the effort would be to stop or hinder the mighty power of a true knowledge of God.
The trouble with us is, if we prove our hearts to their depth, that, at the bottom, we think we know better. We would not say it for the world, we would hardly admit it to ourselves. But there it is; and the difficulty of being "made willing" is the proof of it.
If we really knew Him, and believed that He knows better than we do what is good for us, there would be no effort whatever, but only a blessed irrepressible desire for His will.
The two words are explained in detail in this additional piece.
See also the article by Peter Wade, Don't You Know? -- A Bible word study on the two words translated "know" in the first Epistle of John.
Before we proceed further to consider some other of the practical effects of this knowledge, let us notice the fact that there are two words in the original for this knowledge of God, two verbs which mean to know. As these are used some times in the very same verse, it is very important that we should carefully distinguish that which the Holy Spirit has so especially emphasised. There are, indeed, six Greek words which are translated to know, but these two are the most common.|
1. The one, oida, means to know without learning or effort; and refers to what we know intuitively, or as a matter of fact or history.
2. The other, ginosko, means to get to know; by effort, or experience, or learning.
See the sidebar for further study on these two words.
Practical Christian living
The importance of getting to know God is our one great need. This knowledge is not only the basis of trust in God; not only the foundation of Christian faith; but of Christian life. Practical Christian life and walk will be in direct proportion to our knowledge of God.
Look at Colossians 1:9,10, where we have the practical outcome of the prayer in Ephesians 1:17. In Ephesians 1:17 we have the prayer itself. In Colossians 1:9,10, we have it applied for our correction and instruction. Carefully weigh the words. "For this cause, we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire" -- Desire what? "that ye might be filled with the knowledge (the noun from No. 2, i.e., acquired knowledge) of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." Why? For what purpose? To what end? "That ye may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Then, to walk worthy of the Lord, I must know Him? Exactly so. If I would please Him in all things I must know what will please Him. Is this all that is required? All that I have to do? Yes, this is all. Then I have not to rush hither and thither; from Convention to Convention? No, I have to sit down before God's Word, and get to know Him through that. There is no other way of getting to know Him. And He has given us His Word, and revealed Himself therein, on purpose that we may study it and find out what it is that pleases Him; what it is He loves; what it is He hates; what it is He does. To get to know His wisdom, His will, His infinite love, His almighty power, His faithfulness, His holiness, His righteousness, His truth, His goodness and mercy, His long-suffering, His gentleness, His care, and all the innumerable attributes of our great and glorious God.
See how this knowledge is absolutely necessary, if we would please God.
We cannot please any of our friends unless we know what they are pleased with. If we would make a present to one of them, we naturally think, or try to find out, what it is he or she needs or would be pleased to have. If we are receiving a guest, we naturally try to remember or find out what pleases him in food or drink, in occupation or recreation. If we cannot find this out, then we have to guess at it, and we may or may not succeed in our effort to please. We may take the greatest trouble and pains, and yet, after all, we may arrange for or provide the very thing which is most disliked. It is even so with our God.
Where can we go?
How are we to find out the things that please Him? How are we to discover the things He approves?
Only from His Word.
There, and there alone can we get to know Him. There alone shall we learn the fulness of the Spirit's prayer for us in Ephesians 1:17; and the blessed practical outcome of it in Colossians 1:9,10.
No man has this knowledge of God intuitively. No minister can even help in imparting it, except in and by the ministry of that Word. His own thoughts are valueless. Only so far as he enables us to understand that Word can he be of any assistance to us. He may be mistaken himself, and very easily be a hindrance instead of a help. God has revealed Himself in His written Word, the Scriptures of truth; and in the Living Word His Son, Jesus Christ. And it is by the Communicated Word revealed in our hearts by the Holy Ghost that we begin thus to get to know Him, whom to know is Life Eternal.
This is the one great reason why the written Word is given to us. It is not given merely as a book of general information, or of reference; but it is given to make known the invisible God.
Why do we read it? Why do we open it at all? What is, or ought to be, our object in reading it?
Do we read a portion that someone else has selected for us? Do we read that portion because we have promised someone we would do so? Or do we open it, and sit down before it with the one dominant object to find out God; to discover His mind; to get to know His will.
Those who are not thus engaged make their own god out of their own thoughts and imaginations. They have to fall back on what they think their god likes!
Thousands make their gods with their hands, out of wood, or stone, or bread. Thousands more make him out of their own heads. But, being ignorant of God's Word, they are alike ignorant of the God Who has there revealed Himself.
The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: http://www.peterwade.com/
Would you like your own copy of books by E.W. Bullinger and other authors? Go to our Selected Books.