Updated: Dec 28, 2020
You can discern three levels of bible knowledge in people. These levels reveal to what degree a person knows God and operates in the truths of God:
Level 1: Information
The natural man only has head (flesh) knowledge of the Bible. Anyone can read the Bible and obtain information about the people, customs, stories, history, etc. Many worldly scholars have read it without any sort of heart change because they didn’t have understanding, as they were not born again:
1 CORINTHIANS 2:14 But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
Level 2: Understanding
The spiritually renewed man has understanding. He receives by the spirit because the Holy Spirit testifies with his spirit. He has the Spirit of God leading unto all truth:
1 JOHN 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
JOHN 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
At this level, born again people believe what God says in His Word and know it has power. Often, they can be stuck at this level because they don’t really believe the promises are for them. They struggle with doubt.
Level 3: Appropriation
The spiritually mature man not only is born again and receives the word by the spirit, but his soul (mind, will and emotions) now aligns with the Word of God. Appropriation is the act of taking something for yourself or for your own use. In this context one part is recognizing that you are to believe God to the degree that you take His word at face-value and believe what he says is for you. Another part is applying what you know from scripture so that your mind, will and emotions all begin to change to line up to the Word. This means that a person has been transformed by the renewing of their mind to the point that they identify with Christ in that the Word of God dictates their daily actions. For more on renewing the mind, see Renewing Your Mind.