Every Thought Captive to Messiah


Knowledge Puffs Up, but Love Builds Up

1 Corinthians 8

"Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that 'all of us possess knowledge.' This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God" (1 Cor 8:1-3).

In a choice between showing our knowledge and showing or love, we are to choose showing our love. Love is greater than knowledge. This does not mean knowledge is unimportant (vv. 2:6-7). Often the effect of showing our knowledge is that we become prideful. By contrast, the effect of showing our love is that another person is built up. Love is building up other people, helping them to become more like Jesus and to advance to spiritual maturity.

Eating meat offered to idols is not a relevant concern of ours in the West today. But it is the principle here that counts. We are to pay attention to Paul's method of dealing with the question the Corinthian church has put to him. Love is the north star of Paul's decision making and advice. What is the loving thing to do when brothers and sisters are struggling in the consciences over whether to eat meat that has been offered to idols? The loving thing is to avoid putting a stumbling block in the way of those brothers and sisters.

Father, thank you for this reminder of the primacy and supremacy of love in our decision making. Help me to build up my wife, children, friends, and co-workers in love. Warn me if I am showing off my biblical or spiritual "knowledge" in order to puff myself up with pride. May I pay special attention to Averil today. Please help her to heal. In Jesus' name, amen.

- Jeff Coleman


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