How did the phrase "getting to know Jesus" come to be ubiquitous among Evangelicals (i.e. Campus Crusade for Christ)? To them, what is it really supposed to mean? Does it refer to the act of converting to Christianity, or does it refer to the act of living a Christian lifestyle? Can a person "know Jesus" but still not commit to Jesus's teachings?

Apparently, Catholics mean something completely different. In context, my best guess is that it means a theologically correct understanding of christology by means of understanding the role of Mary as co-Redemptrix of mankind. Hmmm... it seems to be used differently from the Evangelicals. The Evangelical meaning seems to be linked toward evanglism toward non-believers, while the Catholic meaning seems to be linked toward orthodoxy.

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    Packer's book is probably quite influential.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 13:01
  • @curiousdannii I also wonder if this is connected to the idea of "Jesus as my personal lord and savior". Tom Short, a well-known itinerant Evangelical campus preacher, really emphasized the personal part, something that his Lutheran upbringing did not bring.
    – Double U
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


How did the phrase “getting to know Jesus” come to be ubiquitous among Evangelicals (i.e. Campus Crusade for Christ)?

"Getting to know" someone is indicative of a progressively deepening relationship. It is a phrase that would come naturally to a ministry to youth that makes a distinction of an active personal relationship with Jesus in contrast to the frequently held view that many denominations present Jesus as a system of rules or rituals that you are compelled to follow. There is Biblical support for this deeper Christian life.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

The phrase would resonate with those Christians seeking more from their Christian life than checking off denominational criteria from a list. The "house church" movement can be seen as also attempting to live the Christian life in a more relational as opposed to institutional or organizational way.

I would say that the phrase came to be more widely used because there is market for those who seek to know Jesus better than some alternatives allow.

  • Interesting information. Do you have any references to support this claim? If what you say is true, then that may explain that the so-called "getting to know Jesus" thing is really targeted at unchurched young Christians in America. To young people who don't come from Christian families, this underlying belief may be somewhat confusing!
    – Double U
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 15:48
  • Do you also have references to back up that claim about the "house church" movement? That part is interesting, and I'm just wondering how you come to know it. In addition, I think the voluntary house church movement is really an American or Western practice. House churches in China are not affiliated with the government-established churches, and thus may be dangerous to get into.
    – Double U
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 15:53
  • DoubleU@ Here is a quote from the web site hccentral "Anyone who has had a good experience in a house church can attest to the intimacy there and the closeness one feels to God. They are also well known for their ability to bring new people into a relationship with Jesus Christ."
    – timf
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 16:29
  • Although your claims are interesting, you still have not provided a credible source for your claims. Please note that the question examines the history of the phrase.
    – Double U
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 18:08

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