What exactly can we learn about God from the Bible?
What do we mean by knowledge?
We recognize that there are different levels of knowledge. Someone may say that we only know him “superficially”, just enough to greet him or shake his hand, or we may “know him well”, even “intimately”, or perhaps “perfectly”. It all depends on how often we have met them and how they have opened up about themselves to us. The depth and quality of our knowledge of someone will depend more on them than on us. It is based on their willingness to reveal more of themselves to us and our willingness to learn about them.
Man, by his own efforts, has not been able and will never succeed in knowing God. All those who apply themselves have succeeded or arrive at contradictory results, because of the subjectivity of it all. We need God Himself to come to our aid to reveal Himself to us.
After all, how can our finite minds really discover and understand an Infinite Being?
Has God spoken?
Has God communicated anything about Himself? Certainly ! His messengers, the prophets, have spoken to us. They have carefully recorded in writing what God has revealed in the Bible for all mankind, in all places and at all times.
So when we ask ourselves who is God, we do not have to rely on our imagination or opinion. We can go to this inspired revelation, the Bible, and read it humbly to get to know Him. From this reading we can acquire valuable knowledge that complements that which comes from the observation of His creation.
God is unique
God is unique, incomparable. The Bible, in fact, describes Him as infinitely great, beyond any method of measurement. Nothing that is great, on earth or in the rest of the vast universe, can compare or compete with him:
You are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. (2 Samuel 7:22)
This article is far too short to be able to name everything that makes God unique and the biblical quotations that make it clear for us. It is an impossible task, because “God is unsearchable” as King David says in Psalm 145:3; It is impossible to grasp it completely.
The main points
We can only trace out the main points with some references.
God knows all things (Psalm 139:2-5; 1 John 3:20). He knows all our thoughts! By comparison our knowledge is restricted and partial. On His side He knows everything at the same time—the infinitely small and the infinitely great, the past, the present, and the future. The whole universe and all time are like a landscape unfolded before his eyes and of which knows everything.
God is present everywhere, in a way that escapes us. This is what the prophet Jeremiah recognizes: “Am I a God only from near,” says the LORD, “and am I not also a God from afar? Will any one stand in a hidden place without my seeing it? Says the LORD. Do not I fill the heavens and the earth? Says the LORD “(Jeremiah 23: 23-24).
This omnipresence of God is poetically expressed by the prophet David:
“Where shall I depart from Your Spirit, and where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I lie down among the dead, there You are. If I take the wings of the dawn and go to the furthest parts of the ocean, there also Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will hold me” (Psalm 139:6-10).
God is eternal; “From eternity to eternity you are God,” says the prophet Moses in Psalm 90:2. Everything owes Him his existence, but He Himself has no starting or finishing point. He has neither beginning nor end.
God is independent. He owes nothing to men. He is self-sufficient and does not depend on any of His creatures. He himself is the source of His own existence and of all that exists: “The God who made the world, and all that is in it, being the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, He who gives life, breath, and all things to all” (Acts 17:24-25).
God is unchangeable. He always remains the same. Speaking of His patience, mercy and grace, God confirms: “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
God is holy and righteous.
God is holy, that is, free from all stain. “God is light. There is no darkness in him” (1 John 1:7). The prophet Moses sang in honour of God, saying, “Who is like You among the (false) gods, O LORD? Who is like You magnificent in holiness” (Exodus 15:11). God is perfect in character. He is pure, completely separated from all evil, from every word, from every thought, from every malicious or dishonest motive. This is what distinguishes Him from all his creatures. (Habakkuk 1:13).
God is also righteous and therefore he can not leave evil unpunished and does not hold the guilty innocent. “I will judge them as they deserve, and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 7:27). God inspires fear God in us by the contrast with what we are—small, weak, limited, knowing full well that we are neither holy nor righteous—with what He is in His perfections.
Despite our best efforts, even if we were trying to be good, we can not satisfy such a perfect God. Moreover, we know that we are mortal and that one day we will stand before Him as those who are accountable to him.
Can fear of God be a good thing?
However, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; All those who observe it have a sound reason. His glory abides forever “(Psalm 111: 10). The fear of God leads us to respect and obey him. This is the basis of all belief in one God. However, by religious ceremonies and attendance and rituals, as if it was all that God requires of us, this God we have described remains distant. Our fear and reverence for Him—as this infinite, eternal, unchangeable God, who is everywhere, all-powerful, all-knowing, wise, holy, just and good,— is only a beginning. A necessary starting point, but which is not enough to make us know God intimately. These are some of the eminent qualities of God revealed by his creation and his communication, the Bible. Admirable and impressive, they reveal, however, by contrast, what separates us from God.
To truly know God as Father, Saviour, and even as a friend go to this page.