Knowing Vs. Doing

Although it is a relatively unknown verse, John 13:17 should actually be one of the most important in the whole Bible, because it really all comes down to this:

“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Christianity is not merely about what you “KNOW.” It is reputed that the scribes and Pharisees had memorized the entire Old Testament Law, but Jesus called them “sons of hell.” (Matthew 23) There are brilliant professors of New Testament at universities today who “know” what the scripture says, but they do not believe in God, miracles, the resurrection, or the Deity of Jesus Christ, and they have never applied the truth of the scripture they “know” so well, to their own lives.

This should be a warning to many of us as well. Christianity is not merely about “knowing” certain things in the Bible. It calls for a radical application of its truths to one’s life. You must DO what you know:

— You “know” to trust Jesus? But DO you?
— You “know” to pray? But DO you?
— You “know” to forgive? But DO you?
— You “know” to make disciples? But DO you?
— You “know” to serve your spouse? But DO you?
— You “know” to live as Christ’s representative wherever you go? But DO you?

There are echoes of this truth in the piercing words of James 2:19-20, “You believe that God is one? You do well; the demons also believe and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” James is  repeating this same truth Jesus taught here in John 13: it’s not what you “know”; it’s what you DO!

Many Americans “know” a great deal about God and the Bible. But “knowing” is not our salvation. We need to hear these words of Jesus again, and receive them with their full weight of meaning: “If you KNOW these things, you are blessed if you DO them”!


About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
This entry was posted in Devotions/Bible Studies, Discipleship, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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