Looking at one verse through the five lenses of Ephesians 4:11
“That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it.” Psalm 139:6
This section looks at how the Apostle might read this particular verse:
1. The apostle is not a peddler of knowledge. They are an applier of knowledge; but not book knowledge and academic intelligence. They share God-knowledge and experiential intelligence that stir in the heart of the hearer.
2. To the apostle, the point of this passage isn’t to explain God-knowledge on a blackboard or powerpoint presentation, but to embody it, to live a gospel-shaped life and communicate how to expand the Kingdom of God, shaping all of life through the power of the Holy Spirit with it.
3. The apostle equips through presence, incarnate presence. The apostle goes where experience with God is deficient and works with gospel and grace, creating space for others to experience God and increase their experiential intelligence where the Lord has already planted them.
Message Titles: “Experiential Intelligence” “Spray It, Don’t Say It” “Hard Hat Area.”
This section looks at how the Prophet reads this particular verse:
1. The prophet impedes the flow of information in favor of transformation, challenging those who know through intelligence to begin to understand through experiences. In the scene below, poetry in the hands of a prophet becomes a dangerous thing! If the church is formed by information, we are un-formed by the onset of fatigue brought on by too much of it. ** Information Fatigue Syndrome applies as much to Christians in Sunday School as it does to Helicopter Moms on Parenting websites.
2. The prophet embodies this verse literally: i.e. speaking a word from God that the hearer doesn’t understand upon hearing, but will once they decide to change their heart and their life and embody a with-Christ approach to living. (Sounds like the Gospels and why prophets are becoming increasing unpopular in classrooms and board discussions)
3. Prophets embody the knowledge of the Lord in the way described in the context of Psalm 139. They are more concerned with understanding than knowing, more concerned with having lived it than having learned it.
BONUS: The prophet is a disturber of those who “understand” and “fathom” – it borders to close to comfort, the true enemy of the Kingdom. For a PG-13 description of this, see John Cusack’s Twitter Tagline.
Message Titles: “Information Fatigue Syndrome” “Walk On” [Yes, from the U2 song] “My Faith Hurts”
This section looks at how the Evangelist reads this particular verse:
1. The evangelist catalogues stories of experiences with God and shares them with the energy of a new thought. Experiences with God stories are the gold in the evangelical economy.
2. The evangelist speaks into the insecurities of those who believe that they don’t know enough. They point out that we are all in the same boat, taking the next step, finding our way as best we can, chasing after the hem of the robe of Jesus. Knowledge does not equal wisdom. Fear of the Lord does.
3. The evangelist helps us overcome our information overload and deficit of meaning and discover meaning in the world around us, not through the IQ, not through the EQ, but through the GQ – The God Quotient.
Message Titles: “The New Gold Standard” “Insecurities and Exchange” “The God Quotient”
This section looks at how the Shepherd reads this particular verse:
1. Shepherds help people lean into the Lord despite education deficiency (how little they know about “christianity”). Truth be told, you don’t have to know all about Jesus to be known by Him. You don’t have to understand forgiveness to be forgiven. You don’t have to study to be saved.
2. Shepherds keep the truth in front of sinners. Devotions are a response not a requirement. Prayer is a gift to be thankful for, not a task to feel guilty about. Worship is a spiritual practice, not a religious punishment.
3.Shepherds stand in the gap of grace between what sinners “know” about Jesus and what Jesus knows about those he has saved. To know Jesus can save you is all you need to understand.Shepherds continually point out that remembering what Christ has done is sufficient as far as knowing goes. Everything after that is simply “following.”
Message Titles: “The Salvation Examination” “Truth in the Bullseye” “The Gap of Grace”
This section looks at how the Teacher reads this particular verse:
1. Teach about the Hebrew understanding of learning (yadah) to how we know what we know about Jesus. What are the limits of our knowledge? Is knowledge always about what we think? Where are the boundaries of what we can learn about the Jesus and textbook Christian living? Look at the Garden of Eden as a parable of knowledge accumulation – when is knowledge the right thing vs. keeping company with God as a way to understand the Lord.
2. The Psalmist is talking specifically about the knowledge that God knows us deeply. To be known by the Lord is the deepest knowledge. The response, as Parker Palmer puts it, is then To Know As We Are Known.
3. Teach paradigms of learning from experience vs. learning via sitting in a classroom. Of knowing about life from reading the textbook vs. living the The Book. For more paradigm shift on what it means to be the Teacher, check out this post and make sure to start a conversation in the comments!