When the great Princeton scholar James Alexander was on his deathbed, his wife incorrectly quoted 2 Timothy 1:12, “I know in whom I have believed.” Gently he corrected her for adding the word in. He wanted to make it clear that in addition to possessing an accurate understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ, he knew Him in a deeply personal way. He saw his impending death as the door through which he would be ushered immediately into the presence of the One he had come to love and know so well.

As a former pastor, I have talked and prayed with scores of people on the brink of death. I have observed every emotion from sheer terror to joyous anticipation. Even among Christians, I’ve seen some die more triumphantly than others. Believers who show the most confidence at death are those who have a deeply personal relationship with Jesus. Like the apostle Paul, they can honestly say, “I know whom I have believed.”

We develop an intimacy with the Savior by learning about Him in the Bible, expressing our love to Him in prayer, and obeying His Word. As we learn to follow the Spirit’s leading, He’ll witness with our spirit so we too will be able to say, “I know whom I have believed.”