Apprehension is defined as "the act of taking or arresting. The mere contemplation of things without affirming, denying, or passing any judgment; the operation of the mind in contemplating ideas, without comparing them with others, or referring them to external objects; simple intellection. An inadequate or imperfect idea, as when the word is applied to our knowledge of God." Apprehension is also defined as "opinion; conception; sentiments. In this sense, the word often denotes a belief, founded on sufficient evidence to give preponderation to the mind, but insufficient to induce certainty. To be false, and to be thought false, is all one, in respect of men, who act not according to truth, but apprehension. In our apprehension the facts prove the issue. The faculty by which new ideas are conceived. Fear; suspicion; the prospect of future evil, accompanied with uneasiness of mind." – Noah Webster

“Apprehension serves as the mental foundation for
the mystic's intuition and perception.”

While apprehension is usually defined as anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen, as we apply it here, apprehension is the mental faculty by which ideas are conceived or by which perceptions are grasped.

Apprehension serves as the mental foundation for the mystic's intuition and perception. The Oxford English Dictionary defines mysticism as "immediate consciousness of the transcendent or ultimate reality or God, and the experience of such communion as described by mystics. A belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are central to being and directly accessible by subjective experience."

Edna Lister on Apprehension

While "seeing" means to see with the physical eye, it also means to "apprehend as with the eye, to visualize, to understand and comprehend." – Edna Lister, Healing the Seat of Vision, May 10, 1950.

Philippians 3:8-17 outlines the four steps to apprehension: First, do it now. Second, forget those things which are behind. Third, reach forward to those things which are ahead. Fourth, press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul desired to "apprehend" the mysteries of Christ. To know a mystery only partly brings dread and fear. Apprehension is still a mental process. To do, you must forget the past, and to reach the goal, you must press forward. – Edna Lister, November 4, 1951.

To apprehend is to fully understand. "One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind" I love enough, "reaching forth to those things which are ahead," my new goals and aspirations, I press on without lagging or dawdling, with active faith and love, using joy to attain the prize, beauty, health and perfection in all ways. – Edna Lister, Aspiration and Prayer, June 19, 1955.

Intuition is "a quick perception of truth, without conscious attention or reasoning, truth attained through apprehension, also instinctive knowledge or feeling," which you induct from the five senses. – Edna Lister, Intuition or Hunch? September 18, 1955.

You take four steps toward any goal, from apprehension through faith into knowing through growth, into comprehension. Apprehension is dual: It gains understanding while suffering from dread. It also means to grasp. So, one need is to grasp without seeking to possess. It means that you must surrender to be a servant of all Power while I AM consciousness is teaching you law. – Edna Lister, Follow Thou Me, November 29, 1959.

You climb from faith into knowing, and further into comprehension. Apprehension has the facts at hand, Light unveils the truth, and you know instantly. The definition of apprehension includes "dread" and "grasping." Most people grab at the world's pleasures, or clutch others to possess them. Too many are afraid of new truths, or dread taking new positions. Some truth teachers dread to speak of what intuition reveals to them, fearing criticism if it does not come to pass.

We all grasp at truth while we are learning to become law. You must hold the new firmly enough while you need it, yet let go of the lesser as your understanding grows. Stop trying to drag third grade studies into the fourth grade. Apprehension, as the faculty of pure miracles, says, "I am becoming law." It includes comprehension, which opens the soul's vision, the mystic all-seeing eye that reads the Book of Life. – Edna Lister, Follow Thou Me, November 29, 1959.

Understanding is the insight you gain by applying the mental faculties. The quickest way to understand anything is to stand under the Light as you study the problem. Intuition is immediate mental apprehension without the intervention of any reasoning process. It is absolute "knowing" without suspicion or rationalization. Illumination is the soul faculty you attain when Light penetrates and permeates every cell of the body until you can "see" and "know." – Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself? June 14, 1960.

One Light, the Three-as-One manifesting as life sparks forms all the trinities. Light is the Source of apprehension, comprehension and vision (we cannot see without Light). Seeing is God in action as you. – Edna Lister, Is Faith Enough? June 21, 1960.

Apprehension is the first step toward comprehension, a state of knowing in the Light above, the first step toward perceiving truth. – Edna Lister, Miracles Through Comprehension, July 10, 1960.

You are sons and daughters of God, destined to become living ensamples to stand before the world and witness. Seek to attain this to apprehend, to apply what you know to what you do. If you start to apprehend, God will supply what you need. – Edna Lister, Comprehension and Nonresistance, June 25, 1967.

Mysticism is the belief in the possibility of union with the Divine Nature, and trust in spiritual intuition as a means of acquiring knowledge of mysteries inaccessible to intellectual apprehension. Mysticism is the study of God as personality. – Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1933-1971.

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New Testament on Apprehension

I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. – Philippians 3:7-17.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of apprehension: perception, comprehension, something learned; from Latin apprehensionem (nominative apprehensio), noun of action from apprehendere take hold of, grasp physically or mentally.

Apprehension is a mental faculty.


The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV). This work is in the Public Domain.

Webster's New International Dictionary, 1913 edition. Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1913. This work is in the Public Domain.

Related Topics

See Apperception

See Awareness

See Consciousness

See I AM THAT I AM (a): Edna Lister sermon outline; November 4, 1951.

See I AM THAT I AM (b): Edna Lister sermon transcript; November 4, 1951.

See I AM THAT I AM (c): Edna Lister sermon transcript; November 25, 1951.

See The Golden Chalice (a): Edna Lister sermon outline; June 15, 1951.

See The Golden Chalice (b): Edna Lister sermon transcript; September 21, 1952.

See Let Go and Let God: Edna Lister sermon outline; January 8, 1956.

See Miracles Through Comprehension (a): Edna Lister sermon outline; July 10, 1960.

See Miracles Through Comprehension (b): Edna Lister sermon transcript; July 10, 1960.