Friday, February 22, 2013

Puffed up Knowledge

Now about food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature].  If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary. 1 Cor 8:1-2

This passage speaks of how knowledge is related to pride, as we exert privileges in the security of faith.  Paul is speaking of eating idol meat.  Since my eye is looking for any passage that speaks of pride, this one caught my attention.

Knowledge is a lure to increase pride.  That person who knows the Bible forward and back, yet does not know God – no personal relationship.  That person who has a critical eye on how things should be.  That person who is certain of being right, their heart is closed to learning. 

Paul contrast to the pride of knowledge with love.  Love builds up.  Love does not tout around advanced knowledge (pride of knowledge).  Love seeks wisdom (knowledge with application and heart change).  It looks to use knowledge to understand where others stand – not condemn anyone either.  To take the time to understand where others are at in their walk with God and not allow their actions to cause another to stumble.

But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him]. 1 Cor 8:3

Anyone with puffed up knowledge thinks they know God.  Only through love can anyone know God.  Love recognizes that I am an example for others to follow.  Love knows what is permissible for me to do, yet I restrain myself out of consideration for my brothers and sisters in Christ.

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