Before my husband and I got engaged, I knew he loved me. I knew that he wanted to live our lives together and that he had plans to propose. But experiencing the moment his love was expressed was more impactful than simply knowing he loved me. It was when he knelt down in front of me with a ring in his hand that his love for me felt more alive than it ever had before. His love for me and my love for him was not just something I knew in my head, it was something I felt in my heart as I said, “Yes,” and he slipped the ring on my finger. Our engagement was not only about love acknowledged but love experienced.
Through personal study or pastoral teaching, you may have heard the terms “head and heart knowledge.” Head knowledge has to do with what we know about God and His Word. It is truth we have learned, studied, and retained. Heart knowledge has to do with feeling and experiencing the truth of God's Word. Head knowledge should always result in heart knowledge. We must not only know what God’s Word says in our minds, we must believe what God’s Word says in our hearts. When head knowledge becomes heart knowledge, we can both know and experience the beauty of God’s Word and the gift of the gospel.
However, moving from the head to the heart can be difficult. In my own life, I struggle to always allow what I take in about God with my mind to sink deep within my heart. When I feel afraid, I may know that God is in control but hesitate to allow that truth to calm my fears and worries. Perhaps you, too, struggle to have what you know to be true about God and His Word move to your heart. Maybe you know a lot about what the Bible says but feel as if your heart is not always moved or captivated by what Scripture says. Friend, you are not alone. We all struggle as believers to allow head knowledge to become heart knowledge. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can move from the head to the heart by meditating on God’s Word, putting knowledge of God’s Word into practice, and connecting God’s Word to our lives.
Meditate on God’s Word
As we study God’s Word, our knowledge of Scripture deepens. When studying Scripture, we should not only retain head knowledge—we should also grow in heart knowledge by reflecting on Scripture. We should take the time to soak in God’s Word in order to grow in both our head and heart knowledge. Often, it can seem all too easy to read our Bibles without thinking about why what we’re reading matters, but we need to allow Scripture to sink into our hearts and flow out of us from there.
When we meditate on God’s Word, we are “filled by the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). From there, we are able to “Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16). So through meditating on God’s Word, we allow the gospel to dwell within us, and that impacts the way we act with other believers. So don’t rush through your time reading your Bible. Instead, open your heart to receive what God wants to teach you. Maintain a teachable and moldable spirit. Dwell on what you are reading, and delight in its truth. Who God is and the good news of the gospel become sweeter to us the more we saturate ourselves in Scripture.
Put your knowledge of God’s Word into practice
While it is good to know God’s Word, we must also live out God’s Word. How do we do this? Philippians 2:12–13 points us to an answer as it reminds us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” Through this verse, we see that it is God who gives us the desire to “work out His good purpose.” Thus, He will help us not just absorb the truths of Scripture and allow them to stay only in our minds. But He will also help our head knowledge penetrate our hearts. As such, His Word will flow out of our lives. This means that our knowledge of God’s Word will be put into practice. We must do what Scripture tells us to do. Head knowledge becomes heart knowledge when we not only know God’s commands but obey God’s commands. Thankfully, we do not need to do this on our own. Rather, we have the Holy Spirit to help us live this out. Therefore, head knowledge becomes heart knowledge when we seek to apply what Scripture says with joyful worship and obedience and allow the Spirit to do His sanctifying work.
Connect God’s Word to your circumstances
Related to putting head knowledge into practice is connecting God’s Word to our circumstances. We move from the head to the heart by recalling and resting in God’s Word in both the everyday and troubling moments of life. It’s one thing to know God is faithful. It’s another to believe God is faithful when the doctor shares devastating news with you. It’s one thing to know the gospel. It’s another to cling to the gospel when the enemy brings up a shameful moment from your past. It’s one thing to know God loves you. It’s another to rest in His love when you feel insecure or worthless. We move from the head to the heart by applying biblical truth to our circumstances.
So let us aim to not only know God’s truth but delight in God’s truth. Let us not only know God’s commands but live out God’s commands. Our head knowledge becomes heart knowledge when we allow the truths of God’s Word to not just be known but experienced.