Knowledge and Obedience


God is “beyond” our comprehension unless He speaks/reveals (cf. Heb 1:1-2) and He reveals that He is “not a vague abstract principle or force but a living person who fellowships with his people (Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, 17).”

Unlike our thoughts,  God’s thoughts are “uncreated and eternal.”  His thoughts don’t need approval, work through a grid or need formulation. His thoughts are, is and will forever be and what sound doctrine consist in.

The Triune God’s thoughts are divine and ours are not.

The magnitude of that statement! Should evoke confession “that God’s thoughts are wholly sovereign” and our thoughts are “servant’s thought.”

We are to be His servants in thought. All human knowledge of God is covenantal in character; knowing is a required act of covenantal servants (Frame, 40). This leads to contentment that we serve God by seeking knowledge of Him! As the Psalmist say in 83:18, “Knowing God is knowing Him as Lord, Knowing His name. YHWH (ESV).”

Living under God’s covenantal authority entails obedience which requires knowledge and knowledge comes from obedience.

Frame explains that:

  1. “Knowledge designates the friendship”
  2. “Obedience designates the relation(of friendship)” and
  3. Therefore, [they] are synonymous” (ref 1 Tim)

Knowledge must be sought obediently and it is not “autonomous!”  Going back to the introduction: God spoke and he spoke in the form of scripture, “scriptural knowledge then, is most certain to be true (Frame).”

We must as Christians (but all people are commanded as well to accept that “Scripture serves as the ultimate presupposition (Frame).” And thus:

“Human knowlegde is servant knowledge that in seeking to know anything our first concern is to discover what our Lord thinks about it and to agree with His judgements and we always think His thoughts after him…This doctrine of presuppostions purely and simply asserts the Lordship of Christ over human thought. Anything less than this is unacceptable to Him (Frame).”

What a freeing truth!! If it isn’t freeing have you truly acknowledged Christ’s Lordship over thought?  All our thoughts and personhood are required by God to be placed in subjection to Him. Are we living in repentance and knowledge that we will and continue to fall short of this requirement from God?

Everyone Knows God?

If knowing requires obedience and vice versa, how can, “All unbelievers know enough about God to be without excuse?” Frame says that perhaps there is no limit to the number of propositions that have been revealed to them. Judas is a perfect example:

Judas sees and lives with the Lord Jesus in the most intimate of settings and yet lacked “the obedience and friendship with God that is essential to knowledge in the fullest sense- every moment they are personally involved with God as an enemy and this makes their knowledge propositional.”

Maybe Psalm 14  agrees espousing “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds there is none who does good.” and later on, “Have they no knowledge, all evildoers who eat up my people, as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?”

We cannot trust a fool’s hearts that denies the existence of God. Romans 1 response to denying obedience is that they know the Father exists, yet deny it, saying there is no God and commit abominable deeds. The Psalms continually testify that God is revealed to the world, to the nations and Isreal in many different ways.

This is scary, am I searching to be obedient to God or merely living in propositions of truth with a heart that lacks loving obedience to God?


ESV: Study Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2007.
Frame, John M. Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 1994.
Frame, John M. The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub., 1987.
Phillips, Richard D. Hebrews. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2006.
Zaspel, Fred G. Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.


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