Puffed Up By Knowledge vs. Built Up By Love

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3: “…knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.”

What imagery! I like the visual contrast between “puffs up” and “builds up.” Something that is puffed up is full of nothing but air. It’s stretched out to look bigger than it really is, like a pufferfish. It’s all about appearance, but has no substance.

Something that is built up, however, is solid and sturdy and stands on a strong foundation. It remains standing through severe storms, while something that is puffed up can be popped by a child with a pin.

That’s the difference between the effects that knowledge and love have on people and on their relationships with God and with each other. Knowledge is important, but not nearly as important–or as powerful–as love.

What a great statement: “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.” That ought to keep us humble!

The last statement in this passage seems kind of enigmatic, but it seems to me that it means that those who love God have removed the barrier of puffed up pride between themselves and God, opening the door for personal, intimate knowledge of each other, the kind of knowledge that comes from experiencing the full presence of another.

The best that mere intellectual knowledge can accomplish is empty, inflated religion. The best that love can achieve is mutual relationship, which is the best that there is.

“The greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13b).

Published in: on August 4, 2007 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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