Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV)
Love vs. knowledge – a contrast. Knowing does not lead to loving. Puff up suggests the actor benefits while build up suggests the one loved benefits?
It is interesting that Paul answers a question about eating food sacrificed to idols by starting with the difference between love and knowledge.
Not many of us worry about whether or not the food we eat has been sacrificed to idols. We are faced though with tough questions if we take following Jesus seriously! How do we apply Jesus’ commands and way of living to our modern world? No food sacrificed to idols but how to behave on the internet, what to do with the myriad of opportunities and capabilities that earlier generations didn’t possess. Paul didn’t have to worry about cloning for instance.
For me as someone who values knowledge I get this wrong sometimes too. Ok maybe a lot. Knowledge is not the same as love. It might, as Paul suggests, lead to just the opposite in fact. Knowledge is inward focused – love is outward directed. Knowledge is about what I know in my head – love is about what I do with my hands as well as my heart.
The other thing Paul observes is that love comes from God – knowledge need not. God is love as John observes (1 John 4:8). To love is to know what needs really known – to know God.
God of love, build me up in love and teach me to build up others with that same love. May I seek not to know but to love, not to be better but to love better. Fill me with love rather than knowledge. To love is to grow in that knowledge that you would have me acquire , knowledge of you and of your Son. Amen.