What is Understanding?

Young man at whiteboard trying to gain understanding

Understanding is the ability to interpret and translate into meaning the facts or information that you have gathered (knowledge).

Moving from Knowledge to Understanding

To come to an understanding of anything, you have to be able to extract the meaning from the information you have. In essence, you have to move from factual information to the understanding of the dynamics of whatever you are endeavoring to understand: the how, what and why.

Imagine that you have decided to take up photography. You may have read reviews online about the features of a specific camera before you buy it. You may even know that portrait photography requires a certain lens, while landscape photography may require a different type of lens, if your new endeavor is to be done as an expert. That is all a part of the information-gathering process, also known as knowledge.

However, you will only gain an understanding of your equipment as you are looking through the lens of a camera at a subject you are trying to capture. You can have as much knowledge about your camera equipment as you wish, but if you are viewing through the lens that is out of focus, then you need the understanding of how to dial in that lens until things become crystal clear.  

Understanding produces a foundation upon which you can build your craft on.

What Does the Bible Say?

Proverbs 3 and Psalms 119 both portray this idea of understanding scripturally. Let’s connect this back to my previous blog post on “knowledge” for a moment. Knowledge is gaining a perspective from the God who knows all things, and understanding is moving into spending time asking, seeking and knocking. This allows you to gain understanding of what He is speaking to you about. Understanding gives you the confidence to walk out your journey in life knowing that even if you are missing some information (knowledge), He will get you back on track!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall [a]direct your paths.”

Psalms 119:130 (NLT) puts it like this, “The teaching of Your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.” If you study this out, the meaning of “word” in the Strong’s Concordance says; speech, speaking, utterance, words, business, occupation, acts, matter, case, manner.

So, we can see that God can very easily and clearly speak to us regarding something we may know, but not yet have the understanding or meaning of it. Gaining an understanding of something we initially have some information about takes time. The problem is that often we want everything – like now! How much time are you willing to spend to gain a focus or clarity in what you want to do, or where you need to go?

An Example in My Own Life

Going back in time to events in my own life, I must admit, I gained a lot of knowledge in my head about certain areas, but I had very little understanding of how to gain clarity or insight into the information I had in order to make some very important choices.

This can even be applied to something as simple as the topic of money (and if you didn’t know in God’s kingdom realms, money is the least of all things and should be the least of our worries. However, most often it isn’t). Well, knowledge of money allows us to learn the theory of budgeting, spending and saving. However, understanding money gives us the ability to see what money can do and how it impacts the quality of our lives and future. (Teaser alert: The wisdom of money is something else that I will cover in my next blog.)

I have made some pretty bad mistakes in the past when it came to making, spending, saving or investing money. My poor decision making was primarily due to being naïve and having some knowledge, but not really having the foundation or the understanding of how to use money for sowing and reaping. These days I am so pleased to say that I have a very clear understanding of what God says and thinks about kingdom investments and how to sow His resources into various grounds that will provide an even greater return. Why? Because I didn’t know what God said about money. God set up His principles on money from day one within the principle of the seed. Seeds, if planted, always grow into something far greater and bigger than their original form, if you know how to steward and nurture those seeds.

Look at it in this light, we are like bank managers or investment brokers looking after people’s money and resources. We provide them a place or places to put their money for safety and growth. I can assure you, if you mismanaged their monies you would end up in prison; however, we need to look at these areas in the same light when we are looking after and stewarding God’s resources. Let’s face it, He gives us the power to get wealth.

Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV says, And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may [a]establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day..

It’s up to us what we do with it—how we spend it or how we invest it. So, in light of this understanding, kingdom money principles are very important and it’s worth taking time to ask Him where and when to give and how to give. If you take His lead, your true treasures are not only eternal, but they will also bring you a return in this lifetime.

Gain Understanding from Our Experiences

One resource that sheds more light on understanding that we recommend is Sue’s new book “Just Stand”. If you truly want to see how God is real when it comes to finances and His faithfulness, please order a copy of her book, available both as a hard copy or digital.  In the book you will take a journey with us where you’ll experience how we moved from an earthly knowledge of money to understanding the principles of God’s resources.

On our 10-year journey, we have learned an incredible amount. We experienced firsthand how a family could live in the USA with zero income for 3 and half years and twice as many outgoings bills than we ever had in the UK. But we came to understand how in God’s economy, we never missed a rental payment or lacked food on our table! That could have only been God!

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