The verse “I know whom I have believed” comes from 2 Timothy 1:12 in the Bible. The apostle Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, his young protégé in the faith, while Paul was imprisoned in Rome awaiting execution. This verse is part of Paul’s personal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ.
The full verse says, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
Let’s break this verse down to understand its meaning more fully:
“For this reason I also suffer these things”
Paul was suffering imprisonment for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He endured persecution willingly because he knew Christ and was committed to serving Him, no matter the cost. His suffering was directly related to his ministry for the Lord.
“Nevertheless I am not ashamed”
Despite the hardships Paul faced, he was not ashamed to be imprisoned for the name of Christ. He was willing to endure persecution and suffering for the cause of the gospel. There is no regret or shame in his words, only boldness.
“For I know whom I have believed”
This statement is the essence of Paul’s assurance and confidence. The key word is “know.” Paul had a deep, intimate, personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. He knew Christ’s character and trusted completely in His power and ability. This was not mere head knowledge, but deep heart-knowledge grounded in experience.
Paul had come to this knowledge of Christ through his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He had previously been a persecutor of Christians. After his life-changing encounter with the risen Christ, he devoted his life to knowing and serving Jesus. This personal knowledge gave Paul complete confidence amidst suffering.
“And am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him”
Paul was fully convinced and persuaded of Christ’s power and faithfulness. He knew from experience he could entrust everything to Jesus – his life, ministry, soul – and Christ would guard and protect it. Paul had committed his whole being to follow and serve Christ. He trusted the Lord to uphold him and keep him secure in salvation.
“Until that Day”
This refers to the return of Christ or the day Paul would see Jesus face to face in heaven. Paul knew one day he would be with the Lord for eternity. This eternal heavenly hope further emboldened Paul to endure earthly hardship and persecution.
In summary, when Paul declares “I know whom I have believed” he means:
- He had personal, intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ.
- This knowledge gave him complete confidence in Christ’s character, power, and ability.
- He trusted Jesus to guard his life and ministry.
- He was persuaded Christ would grant him eternal life.
- This knowledge and assurance gave Paul boldness to suffer for the gospel.
- His relationship with Christ was the bedrock on which Paul built his life and ministry.
For Paul, truly knowing Christ changed everything. It turned him from persecutor to apostle. It gave him courage and direction. It was the foundation of his life. Even prison and death could not shake his trust in the Savior he knew so well.
1. Personal Knowledge of Christ Transforms Us
Like Paul, when we truly come to know Christ personally it changes us from the inside out. Encountering Jesus is not about collecting information about Him. It means experiencing His power working within us.
Paul met the risen Christ on the Damascus road (Acts 9). This personal revelation revolutionized his life. Meeting Jesus was not just a one-time event but the beginning of an ongoing relationship. Paul’s knowledge of Christ grew as He walked with Him daily.
In the same way, as we grow in relationship with Jesus, we come to know His heart, mind, and character on a deeper level. We begin to view life through His eyes. Our values, thoughts, and desires align more with His. Getting to know Jesus is a lifelong process that transforms us into His image.
Other Scripture passages describe what it means to truly know God:
“I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12)
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:25)
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
Intimacy with God comes from seeking Him with purpose and devotion. It goes beyond a casual acquaintance to passionately pursuing Him as our highest treasure.
2. Knowing Christ Gives Confidence and Boldness
Paul’s deep knowledge of Christ gave him great confidence. He was fully convinced of Jesus’ power, faithfulness, and ability to work all things according to His purposes.
This same confidence is available to believers today. As we walk in intimacy with God, our trust in Him grows. We see how He has proven Himself faithful time and again. We witness His steadfast love and redemptive work in our lives. Our faith rises within us.
Knowing Christ breeds courage and boldness to follow Him, no matter the cost or circumstance. His perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). We can have victory in persecution when we know the One who has overcome the world and all its troubles (John 16:33).
Other verses about boldness through knowing God:
“The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)
“In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.” (Isaiah 54:14)
When we know God intimately, we find strength and courage to walk with Him through any hardship.
3. We Can Fully Trust Christ
Paul was convinced of Jesus’ faithfulness to fulfill His promises. He trusted Christ completely with his whole life and future. We too can have this same assurance when we know God personally.
God promises to complete the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6). He assures us nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). Eternal life is the inheritance of all who put their faith in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14).
As we grow in relationship with Jesus, we become persuaded of His trustworthiness. We are able to entrust everything to Him – our safety, family, livelihood, destiny. We rest in the security that our lives are truly hidden in Christ with God (Colossians 3:3).
Other verses about trust and security in God:
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Knowing God intimately enables us to fully trust His sovereign plans and promises for our lives.
4. Knowing Christ Brings Eternal Perspective
Paul’s unshakable hope in eternal life empowered his endurance and perseverance. He knew the trials of this life were temporary and could not compare to the eternal glory to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).
When we walk closely with Jesus, our perspective changes from temporary to eternal. We live with heaven in view. The cares and pressures of this world become light and momentary compared to the weight of glory awaiting us (2 Corinthians 4:17). This hope gives us strength to run the race with endurance.
Other verses about eternal perspective:
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
An eternal perspective shifts our focus to living for Christ’s kingdom rather than earthly rewards.
5. Practical Ways to Grow in Knowing Christ
How can we grow in personal, intimate knowledge of Jesus like Paul? Here are some practical ways to deepen our relationship with Christ.
Study the Word
The Bible reveals Christ’s character, wisdom, and truth. Immersing ourselves in Scripture aligns our hearts with His. The Word of God is active and living – it transforms our minds the more we engage with it (Hebrews 4:12).
Prayer is two-way communication with God. It fosters intimacy in relationship as we share our hearts with Him. Through prayer we also gain wisdom, direction, peace, and strength from His Spirit.
Worship focuses our attention solely on God. It stirs up passion and deep devotion for Christ within us. Worship fills us with awe of who He is.
Obedience flows from love and brings greater revelation of who God is. It deepens our trust as we walk in surrender to His ways.
Serving positions us to see God working in us and through us. Using our gifts for His Kingdom purposes yields eternal fruit.
All of these practices require time and intentionality. But investing in pursuing Christ reaps rich rewards, both now and in eternity. The more we know Him, the more He transforms our lives to reflect His character and purposes.
Paul’s bold declaration – “I know whom I have believed” – testifies to the courage and trust that comes from knowing Christ deeply. When we encounter Jesus personally, our lives are changed from the inside out. Walking closely with Him fuels our confidence, hope, and faith.
Though Christian life includes suffering at times, intimacy with Christ gives us strength to endure. We can fully rely on His faithful promises and abiding presence. Earthly trials are temporary, but eternity with God makes it all worthwhile. There is no greater purpose than living for Jesus and making Him known.
Paul considered everything worthless compared to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8). May we know the love, power, and security that comes from a personal, vibrant relationship with Jesus. He is the only sure foundation on which to build our lives – both for today and for eternity.