Ginosko – which is most often translated as “know” or “known” is a word that means so much more than that. This word implies a certain type of knowing that is best explained in several English words. In English the best way to translate it would probably be to personally, intimately, and experientially know something. As you can see, it doesn’t really just mean to know about something, but to have known it through personal experience. In light of this, Ginosko could have times where it should not be translated to know at all but rather to experience, but most of the time it indicates the knowledge that comes from experiencing something in an intimate or personal way. In this way it does exhibit times where it would occupy part of what we call love. There are places in the New Testament (Mathew 1:25) and the Septuagint where this word is used in ways that implies physical intimacy. One can see that this doesn’t mean to have head knowledge or understand something, but to know something through intimate experience.
Oida – is another word that most translators also translate as to “know” in our English Bibles. However, this word means something altogether different from Ginosko’s personal or experiential knowledge; instead Oida means to “understand” something through observation. With this in mind it could probably be better understood as scientific knowledge, things that are able to be known scientifically through observation and therefore could be translated as “observe” or “understand” — to signify the type of knowing represented in the word
Apostle Paul Focuses on Experiential Knowledge
Having said this, another way to distinguish ginosko from oida is that ginosko is relational, i.e. knowing something because of an experience that allows you to intimately and personally know it. Meanwhile oida has nothing to do with relationship but a knowledge about something through observation. The important thing to understand is that it is ginosko knowledge (relational , personal, intimate, experiential knowledge) that Paul is constantly praying that we grow in throughout his letters. When we are exhorted throughout the New Testament to know God, it is not Oida that is used (we aren’t called to understand God) but instead much more we are called to Ginosko Him (to experience Him in an personal and intimate way). Amazingly this means we are not called to observe Him and know things about Him but instead to experience Him personally and intimately. Oh what an amazing God He is! How far beyond our understanding (Oida) and yet he wants us to know and experience Him in a personal and intimate way!