Revelation Knowledge vs. Reasoned Knowledge and the Implications for Bible Colleges

God's Original Design Was for Man to Live Out of Revelation Knowledge

God designed man to be a daily recipient of revelation knowledge. In the Garden of Eden, man walked and talked with God. Adam and Eve were receiving revelation knowledge daily from Almighty God. Jesus also demonstrated this lifestyle of doing nothing out of His own initiative, but only what He heard and saw the Father doing (Jn. 5:19,20,30). 

Satan's Temptation: That man descend to his own reasoning

Satan entered God's perfect plan with a temptation: Man could become like God, and man could know right from wrong. Man would no longer need to receive revelation from God, but he could turn to his own mind and he himself could know separate and apart from God (Gen. 3:5).

In suggesting to man that he could become like God and he could know, satan was suggesting to man two things: self consciousness, and reliance upon reason or rationalism as a way of establishing truth.

Mankind accepted this lie and fell from revelation to reasoned knowledge. As a result, he was cursed. Part of that curse was that God cut man off from the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22), where Jesus was the vine and man was a branch and there was a flow of revelation through man on a daily ongoing basis (Jn. 15).

Moreover, man soon learned that by living out of reason or knowledge he is not able to fulfill God's purposes for his life, because man's thoughts are not God's thoughts, nor are man's ways God's ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's thoughts higher than man's thoughts (Isa. 55:9). Man was told not to depend upon his own thoughts (Prov. 3:5).

Serving God using man's reasoning results in catastrophe.

Try as hard as man would to cooperate with the visions that God would give to him, it only brought a curse rather than a blessing.

Abram and Sarai thought and reasoned together as to how they could bring forth the completion of the vision that God had given to them of blessing the earth through their seed. However, the result of their thoughts was Ishmael. Ishmael was rejected by God, and brought a curse for thousands of years to come (Gen. 16, 17).

Moses knew in his heart that God had called him to be a deliverer of his people from Egyptian bondage. Using his own thoughts and efforts, he killed the first Egyptian he saw hurting an Israelite. God rejected this offering of reason and self-effort from Moses, and took him to the backside of the wilderness for 40 years, where He taught him to see vision and to hear His voice. Then God brought Moses back out of the wilderness as a Spirit-anointed leader who moved by revelation knowledge and not through reason.

Paul was a man who had the best-reasoned religious education of his day. It was built squarely around sound theology about who God is and what God wanted of His people. However, this training missed the element of revelation knowledge. Then God entered into Paul's life with revelation knowledge on the Damascus road, and Paul followed up this initial experience with an additional three years of private tutoring by the Holy Spirit, alone in the Arabian Wilderness most likely at Mount Sinai (Gal. 1:17,18).

Paul then compared the two kinds of knowledge he had received - first with reasoned, theological biblical understanding, and then with knowledge that came from revelation and intimacy and from the Spirit of God. He said that he counted his first rational education as dung (Phil. 3:1-10) when compared with the value of knowing (ginosko) God (having intimacy and revelation knowledge from God).

Peter used reasoned knowledge and self-effort to defend Jesus by force when the soldiers came to take Jesus from Gethsemane. Jesus rebuked Peter, telling him to put the sword away and undoing the results of his efforts. Peter subsequently learned how to receive revelation knowledge and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible does not endorse man's reasoning, devoid of the Spirit.

Man's use of reason is never endorsed in Scripture. Reason is only mentioned on two occasions in the Gospels. Each time Jesus rebuked the individuals for their faulty way of thinking.

The Disciples (Matt. 16:5-12; Mk. 8:15-18) "Perceive ye not, neither understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? And having ears, hear ye not?"
The Pharisees (Mark 2:5-12; Lk. 5:21-24) "Why reason ye these things in your hearts?"

They were reasoning incorrectly.

People who apply reason ONLY to the moves of God generally come against them.

Stephen said, "Which of the prophets did you not kill?" (Acts 7:52). To prove his point, the religious people stoned him on the spot. When I looked at the Toronto-type renewal, my reasoning said, "Everything is to be done decently and in order." However, when I tuned to my spirit, God spoke to me and said, "How do you get drunk decently and in order?" Had I been trained to live out of reason, I would have rejected the Toronto renewal. Since I was trained to live out of my heart and out of revelation, I have embraced it.

Two Kinds of Knowledge

Man's/satan's knowledge
  1. Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

  2. From reason - mind

  3. Through study

  4. Called "Knowledge"

  5. From below, producing pride

  6. Greek (detached knowledge)

  7. Paul's initial religious training (dung)

God's knowledge
  1. Tree of Life

  2. Through revelation - heart

  3. Through meditation

  4. Called "True Knowledge"

  5. From above, producing humility

  6. Hebrew (Lamad training)

  7. Paul's re-training in the wilderness


Any training that centers on man, the mind and study will result in man's knowledge.
Man's thoughts are not God's thoughts; man's ways are not God's ways (Isa. 55:8,9). Even man's religious thoughts are not God's thoughts and man's religious ways are not God's ways. (Which of the prophets did your fathers not kill? Acts 7:51,52)
Any training that centers on God, the heart and divine revelation will result in God's knowledge.

Supporting Scriptural Foundation for the Above Comparative List

Point 1 - The Tree of Knowledge vs. the Tree of Life

Satan tempted Eve to doubt God's words and love toward her and to become like God herself, knowing good and evil. She could live out of her own mind, rather than out of communion with God. She chooses reason over revelation, and begins to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thus being cut off from the Tree of Life (i.e. the divine flow of God within her). See Genesis 3.

Point 2 - God chooses revelation rather than reason

"But just as it is written, THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God." (1 Cor. 2:9-10 NASU)

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil." (Prov. 3:5-7 NASU)

The only command in the Bible to reason is found in Isaiah 1:18. You will note two things about this command: Reason is only encouraged if done together with God, and when done together with God, it involves the use of imagery, which is a right-brain function, and not normally considered as part of the reasoning process in the western culture.

"`Come now, and let us reason together,' says the LORD, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'" (Isa. 1:18 NKJV)

Point 3 - God chooses meditation rather than study

The Greek in 2 Timothy 2:15 does not say, "Study to show yourself approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." This is a mistranslation.

In the Greek, and in the New American Standard version it says,

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15 NASU)

Thus there is no verse in the Bible recommending study. Instead, the Bible recommends, some 20 times, meditation. Joshua 1:8 is an example of this. Biblical meditation is very different from study, as the pages on "Study vs. Meditation" illustrate.

Point 4 - Revelation knowledge is called "true knowledge." It is actually knowledge coming from the Spirit and thus is called the Spirit of knowledge.

"Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." (2 Peter 1:3 NASU)

"And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." (Isa.11:2 NAS)

Rational knowledge comes from the mind through reason and study. True knowledge comes from the heart, through meditation and revelation by the Holy Spirit. Webster defines rationalism as "reliance upon reason for the establishing of religious truth." Thus rationalism and Christianity are totally different, as nowhere in the Bible does it recommend the reliance upon reason to establish your Christian beliefs. Any exhaustive study of the word "reason" in the Bible will convince one of this.

Point 5 - Knowledge from above vs. knowledge from below

James differentiates between two sources of knowledge: It is either from above or from below. It's interesting that he only lists two. Many of us would want to list three - above, below and self.

"This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy." (James 3:15-17 NASU)

Knowledge (man's reasoned knowledge) makes arrogant (1 Cor. 8:1 NASU).

Paul's reliance upon the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2)

"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.

2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,

4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;


10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.


Point 6 - Greek vs. Hebrew Learning

See this article comparing Greek and Hebrew learning.

Point 7 - Paul was trained first by reason, and then by revelation.

Paul was trained in one of the best Bible schools of his day, using the Bible, reason and theology. Then he had to be totally retrained by God, using revelation knowledge, which came to him initially on the Damascus road, and then through three years in the Arabian wilderness (Gal. 1:16-18). Paul describes his first Bible school training as being from dogs and from evil workers. He equates it with manure.

Philippians 3:1-11 KJV

1 " Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the circumcision.

3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Is there a third kind of knowledge - natural knowledge from self?

Aren't things like algebra, physics, history and learning a skill just natural, and not necessarily godly or demonic? What does the Bible teach? Can knowledge come from self, and be transmitted from yourself to another person? Yes, it can. The question is, "Is this knowledge God's, satan's or man's?"

To answer this question, we will recall what the Bible teaches self is, and what the Bible teaches about the function of man when God first created him, and then when He redeemed him.

The four pictures of man in the New Testament are a vessel, a temple, a branch grafted into a vine and a body of which Jesus is the head. In all four of these pictures, you will note that man has not been designed to operate alone, but out of another, out of an indwelling Spirit.

That is consistent with God's intent at creation. Man was designed to live in and out of communion with Almighty God. He drew from the Tree of Life. Man communed daily with God, even as Jesus did. "I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I hear I judge" (John 5:19,20,30). Jesus chose not to live out of His own reasoning, but out of divine flow of words, pictures, and anointing. Jesus did not choose natural knowledge, but divinely imparted revelation knowledge.

At the new birth, the Christian reconnects with the indwelling Spirit of God, (1 Cor. 6:17), and learns to live out of this inner union (Gal. 5:25 - walk and live by the Spirit).

We live now as a branch grafted into a vine, drawing from the river of God within our spirits. We have discovered the river, we tune to the river, we experience the river and we live out of the river (Ezek. 47:1 ff)

All knowledge has a spiritual base (Isa. 11:2). That base will either be God, satan or self. Self is quickly ground for satan, for there are no spiritual vacuums in the universe. What God does not fill, satan quickly usurps.

Paul's first Bible School training endorsed a belief in the use of the mind as central to the acquisition of religious knowledge.

Paul was completely trained two distinctly different ways: first using reason, rationalism and theology (Phil. 3:10), and second through revelation knowledge (Acts 9:22, Gal. 1:17). During his first Bible school learning experience, his situation represented the following:

His heart hungered for God.
His zeal was fervent.
His trainers were the best Jewish educational academy the world had to offer.
The training did not come from revelation knowledge or revelation experience. It did not demand interaction with God on a spiritual level (direct inner encounter with God).
The training did require a mental commitment to thoroughly study, memorize and obey the Bible, an emotional commitment (a heart of repentance), and a commitment of one's will to zealously follow after God.
Paul offered up his mind, emotions and will unto God in his seminary training. He was a model student, performing at an "A level" in each and every aspect of his learning (Phil. 3:1-10).

Isnt that enough? If we had a Bible school requiring all of the above (Bible study, obedience to the Word, repentance, and zeal) and a student dutifully fulfilled all these requirements, would that not be great? Not according to Paul. He called it all "dung." That's a pretty strong word for such a wonderful Bible school training experience! Why did Paul call it dung? What was it missing? What did it need to make it a true Christian training experience of value and not just a pile of manure?

Paul's retraining by the Spirit: total reliance upon the Holy Spirit's revelation

It needed spiritual encounter. It needed to make room for God to meet Paul directly with dreams, visions, revelation and anointing. That is what Paul received on the Damascus Road and in his three years in the Arabian desert (Gal. 1:17). That is also what Moses learned during his 40 years in the backside of the wilderness (i.e. at the burning bush), and what Jesus received during his 40 days of temptation by satan in the wilderness.

Paul's first education (as a Pharisee) missed actual spiritual encounter. He learned about God rather than experiencing God. His class times did not lead him into the experience of God, but rather the study of God. Thus he ended up in religion rather than in Christianity. Religion is the stirring up of the soul of man (man's use of the mind, will and emotions) to follow God. The mind is stirred so one sets it to study and believe. The will is stirred so that one sets it toward seeking God, and the emotions are stirred so that one chooses to love God.

Growth in Christianity, on the other hand, is the encounter of the spirit of man with the indwelling Spirit of God. It is the experience of revelation and anointing of God, through receiving the dream, vision, voice, and power of Almighty God. Christianity is the restoration of the ongoing divine communion God had with Adam in the Garden of Eden and with the second Adam, Jesus, who did nothing out of His own initiative, which I believe meant that He did not reason on His own, without the Holy Spirit being part of the process. Christianity is God coming to man. Religion encourages man to stir his soul up to obey and follow after God.

Bible College Weighed in the Balance: Reason vs. Revelation Knowledge

Each class offered by a Bible school will either present Christianity or religious rationalism to the student. If what is presented is birthed from revelation knowledge, and the process in which it is imparted is through revelation knowledge (i.e. the Lamad Method) then Christianity, revelatory truth and the blessing have been imparted. If what is shared is from a reasoned knowledge base without incorporating revelation, and if it is imparted using reason, rather than revelation, then religion, rationalism, man's traditions and the curse have been presented. Religion detracts from revival, renewal, and the move of God. Christianity spurs renewal onward.

Knowledge that is received or transmitted through reason brings one under a curse.
Knowledge that is received or transmitted through revelation brings one under a blessing..

If you choose to teach theology in a Bible school, I believe it must meet two criteria:

  1. It must be theology that came from revelation knowledge and not reason; else it will be "the traditions of men."
  2. It must be transmitted in a revelatory way (i.e. Lamad style education); else it will train the student to live out of and rely upon reason, which is the opposite of the way he must live if he is to succeed in renewal. In renewal one must live out of and rely upon revelation knowledge.

One Christian Leadership University student journaled:

Me: Lord, I do so love to hear Your voice. But once I hear it, I never want to leave and although I have the full support of my boss (pastor) I don't think she'll understand when I am late for work every morning. So do You mind if we move these meetings to evening?

God: I'll be here anytime you are.

Me: Wow. I wish I could be here anytime You are!

God: So do I, My daughter. That was My original plan, you know. I so enjoyed walking with Adam and Eve, until they started thinking more than listening. (emphasis added)

Derek Prince's comments on education:

Derek Prince, a well known Pentecostal theologian whose radio broadcasts covered half the world's population, who wrote his doctoral thesis on logic, and who was able to teach Greek and Hebrew on the graduate level in England, puts it this way:

"To put human ability in the place of divine grace is to exalt the carnal above the spiritual. The effect will be manifested in many different areas. For example:

  • Theology will be exalted above revelation;
  • Intellectual education above character building;
  • Psychology above discernment;
  • Program above the leading of the Holy Spirit;
  • Eloquence above supernatural power;
  • Reasoning above the walk of faith;
  • Laws above love.

All of these errors are different manifestations of one great basic error; putting man in a place God has reserved solely for the Lord Jesus Christ." (Pages 90,91 of Blessing or Curse by Derek Prince)

For further study

For 5,500 verses which support the above concepts, please read, How Do You Know? by Mark and Patti Virkler.
For a summary of how one would teach using the anointing and drawing students into spiritual encounter within the class, read Spirit Anointed Teaching Seminar Guide (with the CDs) by Mark and Patti Virkler.

Additional recommended articles

Charts on Study vs. Meditation

How to Receive Revelation Knowledge

Greek vs. Hebrew Learning



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