According to John 17:3, Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” Many translations of this verse differ slightly from the New World Translation. Instead of saying “taking in knowledge” of God, they simply render the verb “to know” God or “knowing” God. However, a number of scholars note that the sense of the word used in the original Greek involves something more—a continuous process, one that may even lead to intimate acquaintance with another.
Coming to know God intimately was not a new idea in Jesus’ day. In the Hebrew Scriptures, for example, we read that when Samuel was a boy, he “had not yet come to know Jehovah.” (1 Samuel 3:7) Did this mean that Samuel knew very little about his God? No. His parents and the priests would surely have taught him much. However, the Hebrew word used in that verse can, according to one scholar, be “used for the most intimate acquaintance.” Samuel had not yet come to know Jehovah intimately, as he would later when serving as Jehovah’s spokesman. As Samuel continued growing up, he truly came to know Jehovah, gaining a close personal relationship with him.—1 Samuel 3:19, 20.
Are you taking in knowledge of Jehovah so as to become intimately acquainted with him? To do so, you need to “form a longing” for the spiritual food that God provides. (1 Peter 2:2) Do not be satisfied with the basics. Seek to take in some of the Bible’s deeper teachings. (Hebrews 5:12-14) Are you intimidated by such teachings, assuming that they are too difficult? If so, remember that Jehovah is the “Grand Instructor.” (Isaiah 30:20) He knows how to convey deep truths to imperfect human minds. And he can bless your sincere efforts to grasp what he is teaching you.—Psalm 25:4.
Why not examine yourself regarding some of “the deep things of God”? (1 Corinthians 2:10) These are not dry topics such as might be debated by theologians and clergymen. They are living doctrines that provide fascinating insight into the mind and heart of our loving Father. For example, the ransom, the “sacred secret,” and the various covenants that Jehovah has used to bless his people and fulfill his purposes—these subjects and many like them are delightful and rewarding fields for personal research and study.—1 Corinthians 2:7.
As you grow in knowledge of deeper spiritual truths, beware of the danger that may come with knowledge—pride. (1 Corinthians 8:1) Pride is dangerous, for it alienates humans from God. (Proverbs 16:5; James 4:6) Remember, no man has reason to boast in his knowledge. To illustrate, consider these words from the introduction to a book that surveys mankind’s more recent scientific advances: “The more we come to know, the more we realize how little we know. . . . Everything we have learned is nothing compared to what we have yet to learn.” Such humility is refreshing. Now, when it comes to the greatest body of knowledge—the knowledge of Jehovah God—we have even greater cause for keeping humble. Why?
Note some Biblical statements about Jehovah. “Very deep your thoughts are.” (Psalm 92:5) “[Jehovah’s] understanding is beyond recounting.” (Psalm 147:5) “There is no searching out of [Jehovah’s] understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28) “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!” (Romans 11:33) Clearly, we will never know all there is to know about Jehovah. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) He has taught us many wonderful things, yet we will always have before us an infinite body of knowledge from which to learn more. Do we not find that prospect both thrilling and humbling? As we learn, then, let us always use our knowledge as a basis for drawing close to Jehovah and for helping others to do so—never as a means to exalt ourselves over others.—Matthew 23:12; Luke 9:48.