Knowledge Puffs Up
…we know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
— 1 Corinthians 8:1-2
In the original text, the phrase “we know that we all possess knowledge” was a quotation, most likely from the Corinthian Christians that Paul was replying to. He was confronting the pride that they found in their knowledge. These believers thought that they had attained to some higher level of spiritual knowledge which made them superior to other believers. Rather than using their knowledge to better love their brothers, they were puffed up with conceit.
The phrase “the man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought” does not mean that the man thinks he has knowledge, but in reality he is incorrect. Rather, the phrase gives the idea that “the man” has correct knowledge, but an incorrect attitude towards the knowledge that he has. In other words, it doesn’t say that the man does not know WHAT he ought to know; instead, it says he “does not yet know AS he ought to know”. We can have correct knowledge and spiritual insight with the wrong attitude. That attitude is pride – “knowledge puffs up”. What we need to understand is that knowledge is given to us to make much of Christ, not to make much of ourselves.
When you are given knowledge from God, act as though you have been given a gift rather than acting like you have earned a wage. All spiritual knowledge (no matter how long you’ve studied, how loud you’ve prayed and how many times you’ve meditated on the word) is given by God and for God. Use God’s revelation for God’s purposes of advancing His kingdom and building up His body. Possess knowledge in love.
Heavenly Father, protect me from the temptation of pride that comes when I am given wisdom and knowledge. Help me use the knowledge you give me for your purposes of making much of Christ rather than making much of myself. In Jesus Name I pray, AMEN!