One day the phone rang very early in the morning. Phil answered it and heard a voice on the other end telling him in no-nonsense terms that he owed a ton of back taxes. It wasn't a joke; it was the IRS and they weren't happy. Phil could only think to do one thing - he managed to blurt out his social security number. When the caller heard it, he said he had the wrong person and to Phil's great relief, the story ended there.
There were other incidents like that over a period of several years. Clearly there was someone else with my husband's name - someone who didn't pay their bills on time, date nice, single women, or always drive when sober. (Apparently hitting a telephone pole and then leaving the scene is a federal offense - who knew???)
We continued to receive calls from various officials and creditors until eventually the other Phillip moved out of town. However, long after the other Phillip left, I would run into people who, upon hearing my name for the first time, would smirk and say, "Oh, are you by any chance related to Phillip...?"
Well, my husband had that name but, no, I wasn't related to the Phillip they had heard about.
The other Phillip had married, settled down, and been living out of state for many years - something I knew but my curious new friend obviously didn't know.
Because they didn't know the "other Phillip" - they just knew about him.
The book of John in the New Testament gives us many of the teachings of Jesus. We can read His own words - not what others have said about Him - and know Him.
Or we can primarily read what others have said about Him down through the centuries - and just know about Him.
To know Him.
Or to simply know about Him.
There is a world of difference between the two.