By Jack Eberle
Although our readers are among the most knowledgeable of Bible students, it is necessary to state a few premises.
- God's Word is totally inspired. (The technical term is "plenary inspiration".)
- God's Words are placed in His Holy Word purposefully and without error.
Therefore, we cannot accept some men's presumptions concerning what I call "casual" translation. A case in point is the "translations" of GNOSIS (knowledge) and EPIGNOSIS (acknowledgement). They are guilty of not observing Philippians l:10, "things that differ". We want to examine the meanings of these two words.
Paul spoke of himself as being "rude in speech", not in "knowledge". (II Cor. 11:6) To see the manifest difference, look at Col. 1:2 - 9. Paul is speaking to well known believers not about their salvations, but concerning their "acknowledgement" of His will. They further "desire" (a strong word) and vow to pray without ceasing for them "to be FILLED " with the Spirit? No, to be filled with "ACKNOWLEDGEMENT" of His Will (l.) "In all wisdom " and (2.) "in spiritual understanding".
This is not the mediocre "self-centered" notion of God's will for their personal lives. Rather, it is the God-centered "purpose of the ages", "the mystery of His will". (Eph. 1:9 and 3:9) These "ages" were fit together by the Word of God, (Heb. 11:3), Christ, Himself, (John 1:3).
The "mystery" was the pleroma of these ages. (Col. 1:25) The subject of this mystery is The Church, who is His body and "is the fullness of Him " (Eph. ) No one can understand these matters without "spiritual understanding". No one can walk worthily without doing so "in all wisdom". (Col. 1:9-10) Further, the subject of growth is the "acknowledgment of His will". This is the learning of and the willingness to give God the glory for His planning and purposes.
In contrast, Paul counsels that " knowledge (GNOSIS), it shall vanish away " (I Cor. 13:8) Paul is speaking here of some of the knowledge which was true at the time of I Cor. For example, the Corinthians observed the Passover and were looking for the PAROUSIA. Since they hadn't known of "the mystery", their knowledge was as correct as it could have been concerning the PAROUSIA being next on God's timetable. When "the mystery" was revealed, their knowledge was faulty because the saints had to be readjusted (Eph. ) to acknowledge the further revelation (Eph. 3:9). This new revelation had to be "acknowledged" (EPIGNOSEI). The Colossian Epistle is a warning letter and informs them to beware of those who would keep them from "acknowledging" God's purpose of the ages that is the "Mystery".