We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God. 1 Cor 8: 1b-3
When ever I read these verses, my mind bristles at them. Mainly because I love gaining knowledge. When ever I get interested in a specific topic or activity, I typically try and learn as much as I can about it. This was very true of my returning to the Lord a few years back. As an adult, having had the experience of a formal education and multiple degrees, I know the value of academia. So, while I certainly started trying to live my life as Christ would I also had to try and learn as much as I could about what authentic Christianity was. So, when I read that “Knowedge puff’s up…” I get a little defensive. What’s wrong with gaining formal knowledge about Jesus and the Word?
Obviously nothing is wrong with that. Paul isn’t saying we can’t learn as much as we can about Jesus, his specific comments were targeted at people who “thought” they knew everything already. He caught wind that these “know it alls” where beginning to become legalistic in their dealings with others in the church. The trouble was, they were missing the point. Setting up rules because they thought they knew what was right, is not the way to grow the church. Love does that. Loving God and loving each other.
The trouble is, I catch myself sometimes using the knowledge I have gained to judge someone. I see or hear something and it will remind me of a passage in a book I read and I’ll start to think about how wrong whatever it is that person is doing. How un-glorifying to God it may be. But then I usually realize (although sometimes I realize too late) that this so called knowledge I gained is nothing compared to the Love I’ve gained by reading the Word and knowing God. Those 66 Books have it all. I just have to trust in them. Many of the books and texts written about God’s Word are great, and they have helped me truly get deeper, but I must always remember to take the Word itself as the complete, infallible Word of God and trust it, and it alone.
Oh great God – May I never doubt your Word regardless of what “knowledge” I gain. I ask that you always set my mind and heart to You as I learn new things. May I always be able to recognize falsehoods and untruths, and return to the solace that is your Holy Word. Amen