Knowledge, Wisdom and Love
1Cor. 8:1 ¶ Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
1Cor. 8:2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge;
1Cor. 8:3 but anyone who loves God is known by him.
The people of Corinth were educated and proud of the fact that they all possessed knowledge. Something like standing around and proclaiming your graduate degrees and institutions to one another, this was a pedigree which some of the people of Corinth enjoyed.
But Paul knew that this was also a problem. Those who had this human knowledge were also tempted to be “puffed up.” Somehow that looks a little bit like someone with their chest out and nose in the air — a bit of arrogance and pride in what they have personally accomplished. This may fill someone up with a bunch of hot air but it does nothing for those around them and that is the crux of the matter. Human knowledge makes the person with that knowledge feel better, but love spills over and makes others feel better.
While Paul doesn’t use the word wisdom here, I think that we’re still on that wisdom track because we get to the point of being known by God. We have wrestled with the idea of having the mind of Christ and again in this passage we realize that we are invited into a deeply personal and intimate relationship with the Holy Trinity. There is this mutual indwelling where we can know the mind of Christ, but also God knows us, and as a result, we are filled with his love.
There is a direct correlation between wisdom and love, for they come from God and result in the betterment of those around us, while knowledge alone puffs us up.
God’s wisdom lived out in our daily lives will result in love. It’s that plain and simple.
While there is a place for knowledge and education, I believe that Paul was challenging the Corinthians to go to an even deeper place. What would happen if that human knowledge and education were to become submitted to the wisdom and love of God? I believe something synergistic would happen that could be world changing.
If you want to be blown away by a list of world changers, just look at this article, “List of Christian thinkers in science.”
These are world changers, those who have gained incredible amounts of knowledge, but have remained rooted in their relationship with God. Many have developed scientific techniques that have improved the lives of others — for “love builds up.”
We never can get away from God’s love being poured out in and through us. This is God’s plan for his holy people. Human knowledge becomes God’s wisdom when we commune with and are infused by the holy love found in the Trinity.
Lord, may your love be in me today. Amen.