There is absolutely nothing wrong with understanding a Koan intellectually ... so long as one does not stop there.
Most of the Koans do have some "point" being made arising out of Zen and Buddhist perspectives/non-perspectives and philosophy (for example, a lot of the Koans are about Emptiness or the Relative/Absolute or the nature of a Buddha) ... and it is baloney for one to say that one must ignore, or not "think about" that aspect of the Koan and that it is not helpful to understand it on an intellectual level. BULL & BALONEY! Few if any legitimate teachers of Zen assert such an extreme opinion (at least if you read them closely), although many people bandy such assertions about.
Such assertions come from (1) people who ignore the fact that most monks of old were very highly trained and familiar with the central questions and perspectives of Zen Buddhist philosophy and teachings, and so were able to "pick up" the implied message in the Koans ... for example Dogen, Matsu, Ta Hui, Hakuin and about everyone else were very much highly educated and immersed in Buddhist culture, history and teachings and thus knew the back story on the Koans and what the discussion was about "between the lines", (2) certain radicals who, although a minority, misused the Koans by emphasizing some extreme view of "A Way Beyond Words And Letters" that overlooked the fact that all the great teachers first understood the letters in order to go beyond them! , (3) the modern foolish types who think that, because the Koans are written in a way that is hard to understand to modern readers 1000 years and several cultures removed from their writing, that they are not supposed to be understandable! Don't believe the propaganda!
As we shall encounter when we delve into the Book of Serenity, such is not the case. Often the Koans can be understood by the intellect ... although the message is often shocking, MIND BLOWING, an attack on our ordinary suppositions about who we are and how the world is!
HOWEVER, the point is that one must not stop with an intellectual understanding, but go beyond and live it! Do not just get trapped in your head, armchair philosophizing and spinning mental wheels!
Simply, it is like the difference between understanding the rules of baseball (important in playing baseball) ... and actually taking the field and playing baseball. It is the difference between understanding music and how to play a guitar (important in playing a guitar) ... and actually playing a guitar with all one's heart. It is like the gap between an intellectual understanding of romance and sexual reproduction (a bit of knowledge is helpful even here ) ... and making love.
Got the point? Give the Koans some time ... don't be too worried that they are too hard to understand the first few times, or that they don't ring your bell right away. Like playing baseball, guitar ... or making love ... one does tend to get better at it with time!