Knowledge and Love - 1 Corinthians 8:1-6

Knowledge and Love

What are you doing with the knowledge given to you?

1 Corinthians 8:1-6
1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
The Corinthian church asked Paul if Christians could eat food offered to idols when the leftover food was sold at the temple market, which was usually cheaper. Paul uses this question to address knowledge and love. 

What are we doing with the knowledge that we have? Paul says that having knowledge only ‘puffs one up,’ but it is love that will build up someone. Knowledge is empty air in a balloon that is useless unless it is acted on. But love is an emotion and an action; pouring out love can build up others. 

Having knowledge isn’t necessarily how much you know but also understanding what you don’t know. Knowing and understanding are two different levels, and it is the understanding that we seek with God. We can have knowledge of God, but we need to strive for a true understanding of His love for us. This is done through personal study and prayer. Then, if we love God and submit to Him, Paul says that we are known to God. 

There is a quote that all of us likely have heard, “with great power comes great responsibility.” But this can also be true with knowledge within the church. With great knowledge comes great responsibility within the church. The stronger Christians and more mature Christians have an obligation to help the weaker ones along with love. Mature Christians can help others grow and develop with love instead of being self-absorbed in their spiritual knowledge. 

Paul says that there is no reason to be worried about the idols because there is only one true God and He exists as a divine Trinity. God the Father created all things and brought us into existence because of love. It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we can exist in the presence of God because of the love poured out on that cross. It is through the Holy Spirit that we walk daily in love. 

I encourage all of us to find a deeper understanding of the knowledge given to us and use love toward others to build and grow each other. We are not perfect, and we are all weak in certain areas, but as a church, we can encourage and develop one another so that we may develop greater spiritual maturity. But this requires a personal commitment to grow in God’s love through His Word.
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