We often miss the richness of the original languages of Scripture. We are dependent on translations (although very scholarly) but more by our own modern understanding of the words.
Paul grieved because the religious Jews had zeal, an enthusiasm and determination to follow God, BUT they didn’t know Him.
Today we’re going to examine Paul’s use of the word, “knowledge.”
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
The Greek word used in this verse, ἐπίγνωσιν [e-pē’-gnō-sēs] might sound a bit familiar because of one of its derivatives (gnosis). But actually the word comes from two primary words:
ἐπί [e-pe] is a preposition with the essential meaning of “laying something on top of something else” for instance, when a picture is painted over a previous one. The context here relates to time and space.
γινώσκω [gē-nō’-skō] is a verb meaning to “to get to know, perceive” through experience. This word is similar to the Hebrew [yä·dah] as it relates to an intimate knowledge coming from a personal relationship, ultimately sexual intercourse. This word has many derivatives including the familiar noun [gnō’-sēs] and Gnosticism.
Paul grieves that the majority of the Jewish people lacked a personal, intimate understanding of who Yeshua was/is. Because of their rebellion, they had been blinded by God and by rejecting the Holy Spirit were unable to perceive or recognize Him. (Isaiah 42:19-21)
PRAY FOR GOD TO SOFTEN ISRAEL’S HEART SO THAT THEY CAN KNOW THEIR SAVIOR.