Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
(1 Corinthians 8:1 NASB)
If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;
(1 Corinthians 8:2 NASB)
but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
(1 Corinthians 8:3 NASB)



Paul throws in a simple phrase here about knowledge. In this case it is related to knowing about food that has been sacrificed to idols. If they knew it had been offered to idols, they felt that they should not eat it. Somehow this did not seem to be God-honoring. The problem is that the meat that had been offered to idols was then sold as sort of "second hand." Obviously it was much cheaper than "first hand" meat that had not been used as a sacrifice. The rich people were able to purchase the "first hand" meat, but the poor people could not. The people with the "knowledge" in this case were the rich people who looked down on eating meat that had been offered to idols. However, the result was that they were creating a barrier between themselves and their poorer brothers and sisters in Christ. Can't you just imagine the church pot-luck dinners? People whispering to one another about the food dish. The poorer individuals working hard to bring something to the table only to have the wealthy church members snobbishly walk past and not touch what they had prepared. Their knowledge of this meat had made them arrogant. They were acting as if they were spiritually superior. Paul tells them that love needs to become the overriding factor. He warns them that their knowledge will make them arrogant, but if they will love it will be edifying and ultimately unifying.



Knowledge can come from a number of different sources. We can gain academic knowledge, but there is also a cultural knowledge that can lead to arrogance. I'm one of those people who has moved a great deal in my lifetime. Every time I arrive someplace new I have to try and learn the culture of the place in which I am living. I have discovered that sometimes there is a type of arrogance which can be displayed by the "locals" when new people arrive. New folks don't know the customs or the ways in which things have "always" been done. Sadly we don't always respond with love, but sometimes with arrogance at the "foolishness" of those individuals who don't get it. This is some of what Paul was talking about. We need to put aside our "knowledge" and ideas of how things are to be "proper" if we are to welcome everyone into the family of God. We cannot create human barriers by our own personal expectations, but we must do everything that we can to remove every barrier that may keep someone from Christ. If we don't, we will be viewed as arrogant Christians and the world will never see the love of God.



Lord, please help me to be sensitive to the barriers I may create and do everything in my power to tear them down! Amen.


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