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2 Corinthians 13:4-5 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (NKJV)

Seventeen times in the New Testament you come across the phrase “do you not know?”. Those four words carry with them all sorts of possible implications and unspoken commentary:

  • You should know this!
  • I can’t believe you don’t know this!
  • Are you kidding me, you should know better!
  • I know you know, but you’re choosing to ignore…
  • Good grief, how many times do I have to tell you…
  • I’m concerned, you need to know…
  • You better listen up…
  • Ignore this at your own risk…

As a parent, it’s easy to understand this expression. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve said to my kids, “didn’t I tell you?” or “you should have known”. Whenever I read the phrase “do you not know?” in the Bible, it now causes me to stop and really look at that passage because the writer is emphasizing it’s something we SHOULD know as Christians. Obviously, you could say that we should know everything that is in the Bible, but that is neither practical nor possible. A lifetime of study still leaves a person far short of knowing all there is to know about Scripture.

“Do you not know?” means
“you better know this!”

Given that, there are things that every Christian should know, and certainly those who have been Christians for a while. While the list could be long of what those things are, we can be sure that if the Bible itself says “do you not know?” that those are a few of things we should put high on this list. So with that in mind, let’s look at half the list today, and half tomorrow. As we go through these, I’m not going engage in a full scale exposition of each verse, but simply point out the fact or concept that we are being encouraged to learn or be reminded of.

  • John 19:10 – Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

    Here Pilate is speaking to Jesus, so these aren’t really things that God is telling us we should know. However, there is a good point for us to consider in Pilate’s declaration. First, Pilate obviously didn’t know who he was talking to. Pilate foolishly thought he was in control. We should be careful what we say to God and about God, lest we foolishly think that we are really in control and not Him. Another lesson to learn is that we don’t ever have to wonder if God knows or not, He does! “God, don’t you know how much I’m hurting?” “God, don’t you know my needs?” He does. We don’t have to wonder.
  • Rom 6:3 – Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

    In this verse Paul is reminding the Romans that they should know longer live in sin. It would be like me saying to you, “why are you sinning like this? Don’t you realize you are a Christian now?” In context, Paul is not even speaking about the physical act of baptism but more the concept of being immersed into or totally a part of the Christian life. He is chiding them for overlooking or ignoring this obvious fact. How about you? Are you sinning as if you have forgotten that you are now part of Christ’s body? Do you not know that sin is no longer a part of your life?
  • Rom 6:16Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

    Continuing his instruction, Paul reminds the Romans of the obvious: whoever you obey you are a slave to. This simple truth would not seem to be one that we need to be reminded of, and yet, as we see how often and how easily we sin, we find ourselves needing this reminder constantly: do you not know that whoever you obey (Satan or God) you are a slave to them? Most people would never admit “I’m a slave to Satan” but when we obey our sinful desires, that is exactly what we are doing. Who are you obeying today?
  • Rom 7:1 – Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

    Speaking to those who should know better (those who “know the law”), Paul has to remind them that the law has power over man his whole life. What does he mean by that? Clarified in verse 4, Paul is saying that while a person is alive to the sinful nature, they are under the condemnation the law brings to sin. Only after death in Christ are you freed from the law and its dominion. It is in essence yet another knock on the head to those sinning Christians presenting what should be obvious to them: “do you not know that your old self is dead in Christ, freed from sin, and freed from the law that condemns you?”
  • Rom 11:2 – God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying,

    This verse is part of the great controversy about whether or not the Church (so-called ‘spiritual Israel’) has replaced Israel, or whether the two are still separate in God’s plan. This is not the forum for a complete explanation of these issues, but suffice to say, you have to ASSUME “spiritual Israel” in these verses to make them mean anything other than what it simply says because on the surface, it clearly seems to be making a distinction. Romans 11:1 asks “has God cast away His people?” That Paul is speaking of the Jews is hardly arguable in context. He then says “do you not know” and goes on to talk about how Elijah pleaded with God to spare Israel, and God declared that a remnant would be preserved who had not abandoned God. Paul then clarifies, that at that very moment, a remnant of Jews were indeed preserved and the rest of the chapter goes on to talk about God’s unfinished business with Israel. For decades I believed that “the Church has replaced Israel” but it was unmistakable passages like Romans 11 that made that position impossible for me to hold on to. You must simply decide as a choice of intellect and as a Biblical worldview “the church has replaced Israel” in order to come away from Romans 11 believing that it is talking about “spiritual Israel” (supposedly the church) and not literally talking about the actual people, the Jews. (and you must apply this ‘filter’ to a very large portion of the rest of the Bible as well, simple changing the meaning of ‘Israel’ or ‘the Jews’ to mean ‘the church’). It appears that God, anticipating this controversy, was using the clearest of language and explanation to once and for end any speculation. But men being men, of course it hasn’t.
  • 1 Cor 3:16Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

    In a running theme, we find Paul now bouncing his finger off the forehead of the Corinthians trying to wake them up. Corinth was reknown for its immorality and the Corinthian Christians were struggling with leaving their old lifestyle. Paul had to remind them in his familiar parental manner that their body was now the temple of the Holy Spirit and that they could not be sleeping with temple prostitutes while indwelled with God’s Spirit. Their body was no longer their own. Christian, your body is no longer yours. It is indwelled by the Spirit and belongs to God. What are you doing to His temple today that He would disapprove of or would bring dishonor to Him?
  • 1 Cor 5:6 – Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

    In today’s Engish we might say “you need to quit bragging about what you are doing good and pay attention. Allowing a LITTLE BIT of sin in your life will affect your entire Christian walk. Don’t you know that?” We cannot be content with ANY sin in our life. We will never reach a point of sinlessness in this lifetime but cannot allow that as a reason to excuse it. We need to constantly strive to remove all sin and never lose sight of the fact that just a little bit of sin gets into our whole life just like a little bit of yeast makes the whole lump of dough rise.
  • 1 Cor 6:2-3Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

    The point being made here is that it is shameful for Christians to have to turn to the ungodly world to solve our disputes. Someday, we will sit and judge matters for the whole world and the angels, and yet we can’t judge matters now amongst ourselves, particularly about money. Paul is saying “this shouldn’t be! Why are you going to the world to solve your disputes? Are you nuts? Don’t you know that we will judge the whole world and the angels some day and that it is shameful that we cannot even judge these insignificant matters of money, property and fairness amongst ourselves?”

Tomorrow we’ll look at the other half of the list. I hope when you see “do you not know” in Scripture, it will scream out to you, “STOP! you should know this!”.

Lord God, Help us to know Your whole Word but where You have specifically pointed out something we should know, that we will make a special effort to pay attention. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Has the phrase “do you not know” ever caught your attention? Do you think that we should know these things just as much as those to whom the passage was originally written?

Application: As sinful humans, we often act as if we don’t know something that we either should know, or that we know and aren’t paying attention to. When the Bible stops and asks “do you not know?” it is in essence saying, “you better know this, and you better start getting in line with it”. I know that’s not the nice King James way of saying it. When you see in the Bible “do you not know?” then pay attention because you can bet it is something you need to be aware of.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?