The apostle to the Gentiles was swatting down those who touted knowledge as the great value of the Way, who said that what you know makes you important. The only thing that knowledge does, by itself, is to puff you up, or, as we say where I grew up (which is where I am now), give you the big head. It makes you conceited. It does nothing for your brother in Christ.
Love is what builds up, Paul says. And when it comes to God, to love him is to be known by him.
That’s a definitive argument there. It’s not what you know, it’s by whom you are known. And to be known by God, you must not just know something, you must love.
Is Paul recommending ignorance? In no way! (Just read 1Cor 8.4-6 and the whole letter.) He is condemning the use of knowledge as a means of self-importance and self-promotion. Shades of Jeremiah 9.23-24! Knowledge doesn’t give you more rights, but more responsibility, 1Cor 8.7-13.
Paul will develop this thought about love in chapter 13, the centerpiece of his discussion on the use of gifts (chaps. 12-14). But right now he declares love as the key, not to knowing, but to being known. (Compare Gal 4.9.) To be known by God takes human accomplishment and importance out of the equation altogether.
Love is the response to God’s love, the door to being known by him, and to understanding what life is all about:
“yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live” 1Cor 8.6.
¶ How much do you want to see Jesus? How badly do you want to be saved? Will you do whatever it takes to return to God? Zacchaeus climbed a tree and exposed himself to ridicule. A sick woman dived into a crowd to touch Jesus’ robe. A blind man screamed and yelled to get the Lord’s attention. Reaching the Lord requires effort, exposes one to fierce opposition, demands of us constant dedication.
¶ Never separate Php 2.13 from Php 2.12. Just don’t. Grammatically and spiritually, the two are joined. Separate them and die.
¶ A Bible without a bookmark? Seems nonsensical to me. They ought to be standard equipment with Bibles. Like tires on a car. In fact, four slim bookmarks per Bible would not be a bad idea. Then again, maybe the lack of one encourages us to keep moving in Scripture, and to remember what, and where, we’d just read. That would be a good thing, would it not?
Have we gone from memorizing large portions of Scripture to not being able to remember the last passage we’ve read?
¶ Years ago, my children watched a program that taught them about things that were like each other and thing that were different from each other. Many churches ought to show this program on the Sunday when they have the largest crowd. It seems people have forgotten this basic skill. The church today must be the same as the one in the New Testament. People ought to reject those denominations that are different from the biblical church.
Some wiseguy is going to ask, “Ah, but which church should we be like? Corinth? Laodicea? Galatia?” As if the weakness or problems of one local church negates the pattern shown in Scripture. And part of that pattern is a path to correcting errors. Isn’t that interesting?
¶ The Missus and her Truly hit the road today for another state, so enjoy these thoughts and comment away while you can do so, far from this writer’s wrath.
¶ From one of the shortest Psalms: “O Israel, hope in the Lord now and forevermore!” Psa 131.3. As the Israel of God today, the body of Christ ought to place its full hope in the Lord Jesus and his coming. He has gone to prepare a place for us and has promised to come again, so that we might be where he is, Jn 14.1-4.
Here’s a good knowledge, says the Master: “And you know the way where I am going.”
Feel free to detach the first section in this Corollaries segment for use in church bulletins or other print media, with proper credits, of course, and without changing anything.