The Knowledge of Christ

Bible Book: Philippians  3 : 8
Subject: Christ, Knowledge of

After his conversion, Paul often told of his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road (see Acts 22:1-30; 26:1-32). Bits and pieces of his testimony are recorded in several of his epistles. Here, as he writes to this beloved church in Philippi, he is moved to speak of his salvation in a rather detailed manner. The details, however, are not given to call attention to his past or merely to the time and place of his religious experience. Only one thing is important to him now. All he is or all he ever will be is because of “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ” (3:8).

1. Foundational Knowledge

If anyone could warn of the “dogs,” or the scavengers, and “evil workers” (3:2) in religious systems, this man could. He had operated in the system of Judaism all his life. And, he had the ancestral, educational, and moral credentials to back him up (see 3:4-6). But, the day came when he met One greater than all! And, “what things were gain” from a natural perspective were all “counted loss for Christ” (3:7). Through Christ, he came to the knowledge of the truth, and received a righteousness other than his own, “the righteousness which is of God” (3:9).

2. Further Knowledge

To believe on Christ is to know Him. To know Him is to love Him. And, to love Him is to long to better know Him, obey Him, and serve Him. Thus, in his old age, the Apostle still desires to know Jesus more intimately, to “know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (3:10). He doesn’t feel that he has arrived! He wholeheartedly yearns to “follow after” divine realities (3:12), “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (3:13).

3. Full Knowledge

While he pursued a deeper knowledge of Christ, Paul's eyes were on the goal of knowing Him fully.

He confesses, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (3:14).

He exhorts the saints not to get sidetracked, or to be “otherwise minded” (3:15), but to follow him in the race (see 3:17).

While “the enemies of the cross of Christ” (3:18) head on towards “destruction” and keep looking down on “earthly things” (3:19), the saints move on towards heaven, “look for the Savior” (3:20), and anticipate the glory of knowing Him completely (see 3:21).


Life is a continual learning process. Take our education, for instance. In grammar school we were introduced to Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, and Puff. Then, before we knew it, we were reading more advanced materials. By the time we entered college, we had even met Milton and Shakespeare. The Christian life is also a constant learning and growing experience. Although we can only “know in part” (1 Cor. 13:9), or partially grasp, the things of God until we see Christ face to face, let us seek to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).