Knowledge: Head vs Heart?

Aug 11, 2017


Is is biblical to speak of head knowledge versus heart knowledge?

In counseling, the above phrase is heard often.  A counselee will express the notion that they know what the Bible commands in their “head,” but haven’t been able to force the 18 inch journey to their “heart.”  A number of thoughts need expression…

1.   In the Bible mind/heart/soul/spirit are nearly synonymous.  

In the heart belief or unbelief occurs (cf. Heb 3:12)

In the heart desires, commitments, and determinations arise (cf. Rom 10:1; 1 Cor 7:37)

In the heart thoughts and intentions develop (cf. Heb 4:12)

In the heart thoughts, desires, choices collide (cf. Jer 17:5-10; Rom 2:15; 1 Cor 2:9)

The heart is not free to act contrary to its desires (Jer 6:1010:1213:23; Rom 6:12, 8:5-8; Titus 3:3; Jas 1:14-15)

In the soul/heart/mind thoughts, desires, and emotions arise.   These cannot be separated from each other.  They may be distinguished, but never divided.

2.  Faith, saving faith, has three aspects.

Content (understanding)

Conviction (affirmation)

Commitment (entrust)

If one has not done all three, one has not believed.  You may say, “I believe that chair will hold me,” but until you commit yourself and sit down, you have not believed.   Thus, it is far better to express the idea of non-commitment as “unbelief” rather than as “head” vs. “heart” knowledge.

3.  The Bible would have us live think, act, feel (emote).  Because the Christian life is one of faith, one must commit oneself to the Scripture whether or not pleasant feelings are present.  If one does walk by faith, the feelings will change.  The relationship is much like that of a thermostat and thermometer.  The thermometer reads the temperature set by the thermostat.  You must, by faith, set the thermostat to God’s precepts.  The thermometer (emotions) will then report the proper (God-honoring) temperature.

4.  I think we try to separate the heart and mind, often, for nefarious reasons.  The wrong reasoning goes something like, “If one is a victim of their heart, if one cannot simply feel like obeying God, then one is absolved from obedience.”  This thinking is just a veiled (and impotent) attempt to avoid responsibility and accountability.   Beloved, you must obey God whether you feel like it or not.

If one does not obey God…it is NOT a matter of head vs. heart knowledge, but belief vs. unbelief.  If you do not obey God your problem is much worse than a head/heart disconnect.

Hebrews 3:12
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

If you are unwilling to obey God…you are in danger of falling away from God….  The solution is FAITH…not feelings.

10,000 Blessings in The Faithful One,