Monday, May 13, 2024

Knowledge and Love (1 Corinthians 8:2-3)

"If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know" (1 Cor. 8:2).

The relation between the cognitive and emotional faculties is one of the most perplexing problems in philosophy. In many systems of philosophy, the two are considered to be distinct and uninvolved with one another. Paul, however, teaches that concerning our involvement with other people knowledge without feeling is nothing. The two are interrelated. If you really know another Christian as you ought, you will love them as God commands. You will consider them as a being made in the image of God, as one for whom Christ died, as one forgiven and redeemed into newness of life. Likewise, if you really love someone as you ought, you will know them, for you cannot love that which you do not truly know. Next Paul teaches that love is actually the highest form of knowledge.

“To know God is to love Him; and to love Him is to know Him,” Hodge wrote. “Love is intelligent, and knowledge is emotional. Hence the apostle says, If a man thinks that he knows anything; that is, if he is proud or conceited, he is ignorant. He does not apprehend the true nature of the objects which he pretends to know. He does not see their vastness, their complexity, their majesty and excellence. These are the attributes of religious truths which are the most essential, and without the apprehension of which they cannot be known.”

First John 4:7–8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” This is exactly what Paul is driving at here. Love is essential to knowledge. He that loves God, knows Him. The apostle interchanges love for God and love for the brethren because love of the brethren is one of the forms in which love of God manifests itself.

Paul also says that if you love God, you are known by Him. This means that if you love God, you are approved of Him and recognized as having the right kind of knowledge. As you can see, if you think you know much about Christian liberty and the Scriptures, yet fail to show love to another, you do not know as you ought. You think you have great knowledge, but by your prideful actions you show that you do not.

What does John have to say (in the verses below) about the relation between love of God and love of the brethren? How does this love relate to Paul’s discussion of Christian liberty? Ask God to give you greater love for your brothers and sisters in Christ and to show you this weekend one new way you can express it.