They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed. Titus 1:16
Know – We need to read Greek in order to understand the impact of Paul’s opening phrase. First, the most important word comes at the beginning. It is not “they profess.” It is “God.” Second, the verb translated “know” is not ginosko. It is eido. Why is this important? Because the ones making this profession are not simply saying that they know the facts about God, they are claiming that they have a direct and intimate experience with God. That makes it all the more tragic.
Ginosko is the Greek word for knowing as a result of gathering information. It is knowledge that comes from trial and error, from testing and from research. This is knowledge of the facts about God. More than 90 percent of the American population has some form of ginosko knowledge of God. It doesn’t mean a thing. One of the principle reasons America is such a morass of moral muddle is its fixation on ginosko knowing. When it comes to actually changing things, it’s nearly worthless. You might ask yourself how it is possible for a nation that flocks to Billy Graham crusades, tunes into Joel Osteen and buys millions of Bibles to be so far removed from godly behavior. The answer is obvious. Ginosko on Sunday does not affect Monday management. Ginosko knowledge is a warehouse of shelf-life boxes. There is no delivery plan.
That would be bad enough if it were not for the fact that Paul uses the verb eido. This is knowledge that claims to be the result of direct, intimate involvement. This is like saying that I know that I am in pain. I don’t need to do research to discover if I am in pain. I don’t need to test myself or gather facts. I just know it.
Paul says that there are people who make this eido claim, but their lives show no results. In fact, they act as though God is not even part of the equation for living. How does Paul know this? It’s really very simple. These people claimed to follow the God of the Bible, but they did not alter their lives to fit God’s instructions for living. They worshipped on whatever day suited them. They ate whatever they wanted. They gave according to their own conscience. They ran their businesses without consulting God’s design for capital distribution. They worried about their own problems first. They sought their own goals. They hated their enemies. They were gossips. They took advantage of circumstances whenever they could. They refused to forgive.
Anything sound familiar?
Ginosko thinking is deadly to Christianity. Eido profession without action is deadly to Christians. There are conditions for being useful to God. Ignoring them leads to worthlessness.
Topical Index: Professing