In our world today, the phrase "Yada, yada, yada" means idle talk or meaningless chatter, as in "Blah, blah, blah." But the true meaning is radically different. The word "yada" is a Hebrew term used over 800 times in the Old Testament. Its basic meaning is "to know" or "to have knowledge of" something or someone.

The Hebrew concept is much richer, for to know means to experience something or someone in a personal way (Genesis 4:1). The difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone is, as Stan Key says in his book "Face to Face," similar to the difference between a lighting bug and a lightning bolt. They sound similar, but in reality they are radically different.

Over and over again in the Bible, we are told that the whole point of salvation is to know God.

Knowing about him is not enough: "Even the demons believe -- and shudder!" (James 2:19) God wants us to know him personally, to walk and talk with him, to be intimately involved in a personal relationship with him.

As J.I. Packer put it in his book "Knowing God," "a little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about him." Knowing God means we will become like him.

Living in relationship with the Holy One makes it impossible to live in sin and causes us to grow ever more like him in holiness.

For this reason the apostle John could say, "Whoever says 'I know him' but does not keep his commandments is a liar" (1 John 2:4).

Also, Knowing God is the only assurance of eternal life. In his final prayer with his disciples, Jesus made the issue crystal clear: And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3).

Here is a point to ponder, it is important for our salvation to distinguish between knowing about God and knowing him.

(The Rev. David Terry is lead pastor at Eddyville United Methodist Church. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this newspaper.)