When I served a mission a few decades ago, we did a lot of knocking on doors. We always hoped the “knock and it shall be opened unto you” verses would come to pass and people would be at home and actually go beyond that and invite us into their homes. Sometimes, studying the scriptures is a lot like mission life. We are told to knock and sometimes things open up to us.
This article is a third in a series that deals with the scripture verses that teach us:
Ask and ye shall receive, (Part 1)
Seek and ye shall find, (Part 2)
Knock and it shall be opened unto you. (This article)
As mentioned in the Scripture Study Techniques & Tips article, studying the scriptures can take different forms. Sometimes we approach something skimming over content to look for specific things, and sometimes we dive deep. It’s a little like the phrase used in education circles where they say certain content is a mile wide and an inch deep. That’s totally appropriate for certain things. However, sometimes we have to narrow the scope and dig deeper. Slowing down to not cover so much surface material helps us ask more questions and go deeper as we spend the time necessary to understand something.
This phrase is almost like a parable. It’s easy to say, “ok, the visual is me knocking at a door and it’s opened,” and then stop thinking about it. That’s like the people Jesus taught that heard a story and then never searched for meaning behind the parables.
Lets get started on the study topic and see what we can find. I’m going to tell you how I approached this study and hopefully you’ll learn a little about how to study and not just what I think this means.
Start off by opening your Scripture Notes app. Then open a search pane and put this into the search:
knock* and open*
Doing this will pick up all the variations of these words in any combination in any verse. The search returns 22 results. You can remove the verse in Solomon’s Song as irrelevant to this project. Also remove Acts 12:16 as it is just talking about Peter knocking and the apostles opening.
In the scriptures, there are two types of verses that deal with knocking.
Type 1: Verses where we knock
Type 2: Verses where the Lord knocks and we open the door
For this topic, we are going to create 2 collection notes, one for each set of verses. Since there are more verses where type 1 is involved, lets just click “Create CN” at the top of the search results and for our first note title it “Knock and it shall be opened,” expand the pane by clicking the right arrow and give it a single tag of “Ask Seek Knock” and click save on the note. This puts all 20 verses into the collection note. You can now close the search result pane.
Now scroll down to Luke 12:36 in the collection note and click the “Create Collection Note” icon next to the verse to open a new collection note in a column to the right. Title this note “The Lord knocks at the door,” expand the pane by clicking the right arrow and give it a single tag of “Ask Seek Knock” and click save.
If you didn’t give the first two notes in this 3 part series a tag of “Ask Seek Knock” you might want to take a minute and do that so all 4 collection notes will appear under that tag if you ever want to find them grouped together.
Now delete Luke 12:36 from the first collection note. Then scroll down to Revelation 3:20 and drag it from note 1 to note 2 and then remove it from note 1. You should have 18 verses in note 1, and 2 verses in note 2.
In the master note for the first note copy/paste this list of questions:
What am I knocking on?
What is opening?
How do I knock?
Why do I knock instead of ask or seek?
Where do I knock?
Does the door open in or out? (Am I inside a box being let out into an expansive world, or outside somewhere being let into a grand building?)
Then scroll down to the verse in 2 Nephi 9:42 and click the up-plus button to add in verse 41. Go to 3 Nephi 27:29 and notice it starts with the word “therefore” so add in the previous verse to get verse 28 that explains what the “therefore” is concluding. Do the same with D&C 6:5; 11:5; 12:5; and 14:5.
With the Luke 12:36 verse, add verses 35-39 into this note using the plus buttons to add previous and next verses. Then with Revelation 3:20, add verse 21 to the note. You should now have 7 verses in this collection.
In the master note area copy/paste these questions:
Where is the door the Lord knocks on?
How do I open the door?
Some of these verses are in the New Testament which means we can look up Greek meanings at the Blue Letter Bible site. I started off looking at meanings for knock and open and they were exactly what you’d expect, knocking and opening. No surprises.
But then I struck gold. When examining a verse with Strong’s concordance references turned on, I clicked on door. Here’s what happened (and you can replicate it by clicking this link).
I looked at the Outline of Biblical Usage section and saw item C was of particular interest. When used in a parable or metaphor, it has 3 meanings.
Then I scrolled down to see the list of verses in the New Testament that have this version of the word “door” used in them. Look over the verses but pay close attention to John 10:7 and 10:9. Christ IS the door. Don’t neglect the other verses. Some may be repetitive to skim over, but there are some more gems here. At this point, you may want to create a third collection note for this study topic by doing a search for “door” and limiting the search to New Testament verses (and perhaps Book of Mormon). Then title it “Christ is the door” and tag it “Ask Seek Knock” and study those verses as another collection.
There’s a couple other key verses here. 2 Nephi 9:41-42 tells us that Christ is the keeper of the gate, and then immediately in verse 42, Nephi says, “And whoso knocketh, to him will he open,” and concludes with a statement that we must come to the gate (door) as fools before God and in the depths of humility.
Can you think of a place where we knock and someone opens? If you’ve been through the temple experience, there is a place where this scripture is literally fulfilled. “Knock and it shall be opened unto you” actually occurs at the veil which is a spiritual doorway we can only approach after we have prepared ourselves by faithful and diligent asking and seeking. Consider the message of the entire endowment and what brings someone to that point of seeking further light and knowledge. With this imagery in mind that you’ve been diligently seeking revelation, now start going through the verses in the two collection notes above. Picture Christ as the door and think about what it means to knock. You are actually seeking personal revelation. If there is one purpose for the Scripture Notes application, it is to foster “knocking” by helping you gather your available light and knowledge in the scriptures, and then going to God and knocking for light and knowledge that isn’t presently available from earthly resources.
Now on note 2 where Christ is knocking, this is a different situation. It might just require some thought and knocking. 🙂 Happy searching!
If you’ve got more questions, ask, seek, and knock and it shall be opened unto you.
Eternal Laws that Bind God
Gospel Theory – a harmony of principled living
Principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and If/Then Logic
The Doctrine of Christ and other Doctrines of the Gospel
Instructed More Perfectly in Theory, Principle, Doctrine, and Law
The Scriptural Command: Seek and ye Shall Find