Do I Know Enough to Believe in Jesus Christ?

Do I Know Enough to Believe in Jesus Christ?

Do I Know Enough to Believe in Jesus Christ?

Recently, I was listening to a podcast that focused on answering questions atheists had concerning the Bible. In the episode, callers discussed their major hang-ups with the Christian faith. I noticed that while many of these callers knew many facts about Scripture, they struggled making a faith commitment to Christ. Their problem was not that they did not know enough about Jesus. Rather, it was that they could not see Him for who He truly was. They refused to look at Jesus through the lens of faith.

Sometimes, it is easy to mistake knowledge for faith. We question whether we know enough about Christ before we allow ourselves to place our faith in Him. However, true faith is the ability to trust there is Someone who has answers when we have questions.

So, what does the Bible say about what we should know about Jesus before we believe in Christ?

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<strong>Who Is This Man?</strong>

Who Is This Man?

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, as He began teaching in synagogues, the natural question people asked was, “Who is this man?” He taught with a never before seen authority and performed signs and wonders only God could achieve. Some listeners were able to accept his teaching, while others turned away in unbelief. Yet, if we look back at Scripture, when Jesus called someone to be His disciples, He did not ask him to be a scholar of Him, rather He asked him simply to follow (Matthew 4:18-22).

When the disciples began a relationship with Christ, they knew very little about Him. Yet, they wanted to know more. The men had heard His teaching and knew that there was something different about this man, so they answered His call to follow. It was through following that their faith and knowledge grew. Jesus continued to reveal more to His disciples as they journeyed with Him. Through His miracles and teaching, He showed them more of who He was as the Messiah. Even as Jesus taught them more about His purpose and the kingdom of God, the disciples continued to lack complete understanding.

When Jesus foretold of His death and resurrection, Peter did not want to accept the truth of His suffering (Matthew 16:22). Before His death, Jesus explained that through the Spirit, they would remember everything He said (John 14:15-26). It is through the Spirit that they received power to be the witnesses to the testimony of who Jesus was to the world (Acts 1:8). After receiving the Spirit, they were able to powerfully proclaim the name of Jesus.

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<strong>Faith Over Knowledge</strong>

Faith Over Knowledge

Jesus sought people willing to walk in faith throughout the journey rather than people who simply exhibited knowledge. Jesus praised those who believed even when they did not have full understanding of Him. In Matthew 8:5-9, a Roman Centurion recognized Jesus’ authority and placed his trust under that authority. While the Roman official lacked a depth of understanding of who Jesus was as the Messiah, he trusted in Him as the One who could save his suffering servant. It is for this act that Jesus states that he had never seen anyone in Israel with such great faith.

Those who were not disciples of Christ were able to experience His grace through their faith with limited knowledge. When Jesus was on the cross, he hung by two criminals. One insulted the Savior. The other rebuked the insulter, declared Jesus’ innocence, and asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom (Luke 23:39-43). This simple plea and confession elicited Jesus’ assurance of salvation.

Throughout the gospels, Jesus called out His followers and the Jewish elite for their lack of faith, not their lack of knowledge (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20, Luke 12:28). The scribes and scholars had immense knowledge of the law, but because their hearts were hard to Jesus, they allowed their knowledge to be a stumbling block. They approached Jesus with the goal of proving Him wrong rather than seeking the truth (Luke 20:1-40).

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The Key Knowledge for Belief

The Key Knowledge for Belief

While Scripture teaches that it is grace that saves us, through faith, in order to place our faith in Christ, some knowledge about Him is necessary. Whereas the disciples, religious elite, and those who witnessed His teachings and miracles experienced His story progressively, we are able to understand who Jesus is on the other side of His resurrection. Through the New Testament, God provides a clear testimony the plan and purpose of His Son. It is through Scripture that we build our faith in Him. Yet, according to Scripture, it seems that there are a few primary elements of knowledge necessary for belief in Jesus.

1. Recognition of a spiritual need.

In Romans 3, Paul argues that everyone is guilty because of our sins. There is nothing we can do on our own to make ourselves right with God. But because God loved the world, He sent His only Son into the world so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life (John 3:16).

2. Understanding of Jesus as God’s answer.

But because God loved the world, He sent His only Son into the world so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life (John 3:16). It was through Jesus’ death on the cross that we have forgiveness before God (Romans 3:25-26)

3. Response to a lifestyle of faith.

However, it is not enough for us to know about what Jesus did for us, we must respond to Him. As the thief on the cross proclaimed his faith, so we must acknowledge who Jesus is to us. We must answer for ourselves, “who is this man?” Yet, this is only the beginning of our faith.

The story of Bartimaeus highlights what is necessary for true faith in Christ and a lifestyle of discipleship. When Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, heard Jesus passing by, he cried out for Jesus, the Son of David, to have mercy on him. Many rebuked him for calling out, but Jesus, recognizing his faith, stops and has him come to him. The blind man threw off his cloak and sprang to action. Christ then asked what he could do for the man. Bartimaeus made his request, and immediately his sight was restored because of his faith. After the miracle, the man did not return to his old way of living. Rather, he followed Jesus on his way to Jerusalem.

This story illustrates each of the elements needed in coming to faith in Christ. For Bartimaeus, his physical need of sight was obvious. However, because he addressed Jesus as the Son of David and begged for mercy, he understood his spiritual need, and that Jesus was the One who could meet that need.

In response, Jesus told his disciples to call him forward. Though Bartimaeus was physically blind, he was spiritually aware that Jesus was God’s answer to his greatest need. Once Jesus met Bartimaeus’ physical need, the restored blind man followed as a disciple in faith. He did not turn back to his life of begging or choose to live a new life of sight without Christ. Instead, he chose to walk with Jesus and continue to learn more of who this Son of David was.

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<strong>Growing in the Knowledge of Christ</strong><br><br>

Growing in the Knowledge of Christ

Lack of knowledge about Christ should not hinder coming to faith, but it is not an excuse for a believer to remain stagnant in their faith. Scripture encourages believers to grow in their relationship with Christ through knowledge. 2 Peter 3:18 states that believers are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is through knowledge of Him that we will not be led astray by false teaching.

Likewise, when Paul prays for the believers in the early church, he asks that God grow them in and fill them with knowledge (Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9). The writer of Hebrews rebukes his readers for not growing in their knowledge of Christ (Hebrews 5:11-14). In order for us to be effective disciples and reach the world for Christ, we must know who He is. Humbly seeking Him through the study of God’s word is one of the greatest means by which to do so. However, it is important to keep in mind that while knowledge is important, it is ultimately love that strengthens the church, and brings it to life (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Cortney Whiting is a wife and mother of two wonderfully energetic children. She received her Masters of Theology Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving in the church for nearly 15 years, Cortney currently serves as a lay-leader and writes for various Christian ministries. You can find her at her blog, Unveiled Graces.

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Cortney Whiting is a wife and mom of two preteens. She received her Master of Theology Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving in the church for nearly 15 years, Cortney currently teaches at a Christian school and writes for various Christian ministries. You can find her at her blog,

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