INTRODUCTION

Pages 130-133 of The Salvation Meter book describe the “A Believer Has Been Given Understanding” test of salvation.  This test is found in Chapter 6, which deals with a believer’s post-conversion spiritual condition.  This article at https://thesalvationmeter.com website is a revision of the discussion and questions in the book that pertain to this test of salvation.  There are two basic reasons I wrote this revision.

First, a sermon is never finished merely preached.  In the same way, there will always be ways to revise and improve the discussion of the “A Believer has Been Given Understanding” test of salvation.  Second, I hope this revision will assist anyone who reads, teaches, preaches, or merely considers the substance of this test to better appreciate the principles taught this test of salvation. 

The “A Believer Has Been Given Understanding” is a meaningful test of salvation that indicates a person’s spiritual condition.  A believer is given understanding so that they may know God the Father, who is true.  The much of the understanding a believer receives is through the menō (i.e., abiding) relationship between God and a believer.  It seems safe to say that the “A Believer has Been Given Understanding” test falls within the scope of the “A Believer Abides in God” test.  Yet, if a person has not been given understanding, it is indicative of a lost spiritual condition.  On the other hand, if a believer displays having been given understanding, it is evidence of salvation.

REVISED DISCUSSION

1 John 5:20

In 1 John 5:20 (ASV 1901), John set forth the “A Believer has been Given Understanding” test of salvation when he wrote:

20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek verb didōmi as “hath given.”  The Logos 9 sense is to grant a request – to allow someone to have what the person has requested.  It means to give an object, usually implying value—‘to give, giving.’  See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 565). United Bible Societies.  Didōmi is in the perfect tense which is the verb tense used by the writer to describe a completed verbal action that occurred in the past but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present (in relation to the writer). The emphasis of the perfect is not the past action so much as it is as such but the present “state of affairs” resulting from the past action.  See Heiser, M. S., & Setterholm, V. M. (2013; 2013). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Lexham Press.

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek noun dianoia as “an understanding.” The Logos 9 sense is disposition – a natural or acquired habit, feeling, or characteristic tendency in a person or thing.  It refers to the psychological faculty of understanding, reasoning, thinking, and deciding—‘mind.  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, pp. 323–324.

The purpose of this Christ-given understanding is for a believer to continually “know” God the Father.  The ASV 1901 translates the Greek verb ginōskō as “we know” and typically means gaining knowledge through first-hand experience (e.g., observation or the senses).  See the Logos 9 sense.   One commentator (Kruse, C. G. (2000). The letters of John (p. 196). W.B. Eerdmans Pub.; Apollos) writes:

Two elements of the work of the Son of God are alluded to here, his coming as the historical Jesus, and his giving understanding to people when they became believers. The word translated ‘understanding’ (dianoia) is found only here in the Johannine writings, but the context makes its meaning clear enough: he has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true. The understanding which the Son of God gives is knowledge of God the Father himself.

Still, another commentator (Womack, M. M. (1998). 1, 2 & 3 John (1 Jn 5:20). College Press) writes:

In his concluding remarks, John hits repeatedly on the theme that the Christian has knowledge that is directly contradictory to the mystical knowledge the Gnostic claimed. Christ brought to us both understanding of God’s nature, and eternal life, because he not only came from God, but is the true God.

            The Amplified Translation (taken from preceptaustin.org) reads:

Amplified – And we [have seen and] know [positively] that the Son of God has [actually] come to this world and has given us understanding and insight [progressively] to perceive (recognize) and come to know better and more clearly Him Who is true; and we are in Him Who is true—in His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah). This [Man] is the true God and Life eternal.

Wuest (Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 13, p. 184). Eerdmans) translates this verse as follows:

Translation. We know with an absolute knowledge that the Son of God has come and is here, and that He has given us a permanent understanding in order that we may be knowing in an experiential way the One who is genuine. And we are in the Genuine One, in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the genuine God and life eternal.

            God has given a believer understanding (dianoia ) so they can better continuously know God the Father through experience over time.  It is apparent that this test of salvation relates to the “A Believer has Experiential Knowledge of God” test of salvation (pages 114-118 of The Salvation Meter).   

Conclusion

The “A Believer Has Been Given Understanding” is a meaningful test of salvation that indicates a person’s spiritual condition.  A believer is given understanding so that they may know God the Father, who is true.  The much of the understanding a believer receives is through the menō (i.e., abiding) relationship between God and a believer.  It seems safe to say that the “A Believer has Been Given Understanding” test falls within the scope of the “A Believer Abides in God” test.  Yet, if a person has not been given understanding, it is indicative of a lost spiritual condition.  On the other hand, if a believer displays having been given understanding, it is evidence of salvation.

QUESTIONS

1 John 5:20 presents the “A Believer has Been Given Understanding” test of salvation that generates the following questions for you to answer.

Question 6-21:  Do you have an understanding so that you know the true God?    How have you come to know the true God?  Would it include your ability to reason, think, and decide?  Would you please explain your answer?

Question 6-22:  While there may be stops and starts, would you say that overall you have come to know the true God better over time?  Please explain your answer.

Question 6-23:  What emotions, if any, are triggered when you ponder the fact that you have been given understanding whereby you have knowledge of the one true living God?  Are you appreciative of this gift?  Does your life reflect that you have knowledge of the true God?  Please explain your answer.

Question 6-24:  Do you believe you satisfy the “A Believer Has Been Given Understanding” test of salvation?  Please explain your answer and include evidence that supports your answer.  Do you strongly agree, moderately agree, moderately disagree, strongly disagree or are neutral about the statement that you satisfy the “A Believer Has Been Given Understanding” test of salvation?  Please record your answer at Indicator 6-C of your Personal Salvation Assessment in the Appendix

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