In just a short bout of thought and reading, I am reminded that the majority of words in Hebrew and Greeek that relate to "knowing" are experiential words first, and in regards to reason secondary. In fact in Hebrew, to "know someone" was oftened used to refer to the act of sexual intercourse (a very real experience). Very rarely is mere mental assent a biblical idea of knowing. We are called to know Christ John 17:3 in order to truly experience eternal life. That Greek word (view the previous link to check up on my thoughts) is Ginosko and means to be acquainted, feel, to understand, etc. It is a deep understanding, well beyond the standard forms of catechism that just involve simple "I believe . . . " statements. Paul expressed a desire to know (ginosko) Christ in Philippians chapter 3 through suffering, death and ultimately resurrection. In John 7:27-29 "Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, " You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 " I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me." NASU The Greek word in these numerous words translated "know" is oraw . Jesus is saying that he knows God the Father in a very discerning way. This form of knowing refers to seeing, discoving, visiting, etc. Its deep, way beyond a mental assent. The final word (episteme) is also used, but not has often in scripture. It refers to facts, ability to do things, a cold understanding. Ah, "Yeah, I know (episteme) know that" kind of understanding. Jude slightly rebukes such trust in knowledge in the 10th verse of his epistle.
The reason I keep using this idea of "mental assent" is that the school of thought known as rationalism has believed for a long time that reason and knowledge are independent of experience. And also that all doctrines of knowledge can be expressed in self-evident propositions. The bible seems to definitely oppose the simplicity of knowledge in rationalism, as well, the rejection of knowledge in deconstructionsim. Though a Calvinist by theology, I have great love for John Wesley. One of his ideas seems to stand out in regards to discoveing truth, more specifically to make theological conclusions. I encourage you to look at his 4 prongs known as The Wesleyan Quadrilateral I personally believe these 4, with Scripture the starting and finishing point, can guide us very well.
- Scripture - the Holy Bible
- Tradition - the two millennia history of the Church
- Reason - rational thinking
- Experience - one's personal journey in Christ