An early evening thunderstorm provided the setting for the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. But when I tried to describe it to my wife, I was thoroughly frustrated, for its beauty defied words. In an attempt to understand what I had observed, I read an article in the encyclopedia. The article increased my understanding, but it offered only cold facts. It didn’t capture the rainbow’s glory. Abstract knowledge about a rainbow is one thing; experiencing its beauty is another.

Two different kinds of knowledge are mentioned in 2 Peter 1. In verses 5 and 6 the author used a Greek word for knowledge that means the abstract information needed for spiritual growth. But in verses 2, 3, and 8, he used the Greek word that denotes a more complete, practical knowledge of Christ, which is actually the goal of such growth. These two terms differ in the same way that reading about a rainbow differs from seeing its beauty.

Job spoke of that distinction when after his testing he said to the Lord, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5). As you increase your knowledge about God, pray that you may also grow in your experience and appreciation of Him.