Today in church we discussed 1 Corinthians 8, and as usual I found the text was exactly what I needed to hear. The point that really struck me was: "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." (1 Corinthians 8:1-2)
The idea being, you "know" soooo much, but do you aim to loving aid those near you, or do you brow beat those who listen with your brilliance and expertise?
Let's read the full text and discuss more afterwards...
1 Corinthians 8 English Standard Version (ESV)
Food Offered to Idols
8 Now concerning[a] food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.[b]
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[c] in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged,[d] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers[e] and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
1 Corinthians 8:1 The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians' letter; see 7:1
1 Corinthians 8:3 Greek him
1 Corinthians 8:10 Greek reclining at table
1 Corinthians 8:10 Or fortified; Greek built up
1 Corinthians 8:12 Or brothers and sisters
As a born again Christian, I often debate non-believers, and I find the dialogue can become antagonistic quickly. For all the atheists that say theirs is simply a lack of belief in God, they sure do get defensive quickly. So we discuss and things get heated, and one thing that regularly strikes me is this, and it relates to the above cited text, what am I "seeking", am I seeking the winning of the person, or the decimation of the person?
In truth, my heart and pride seek the decimation of my opponent... but God seeks the winning of the person, and so my pride must die, for God's glory to shine.
I may want to win a debate. I may want to sound intelligent. I do want my opponent to see the good God I see, and feel the joy that relationship grants me, HOWEVER, when I bring my knowledge I need to do it with love or I do no good at all.
Why? Because despite all I know, "I do not yet know, what I ought to know". (Corinthians 8:2) I need to walk in humility, and rest in God's good grace and mercy that He will save who can be saved, and though I must try to do my part, believe in God's capability to make the blind see, and deaf hear. So in all my discussions I do not need to "save" my opponent, I just need to calmly speak, in love, God's truth.
This passage was a great encouragement to me, and a reminder to have faith in God's power, strength, ability and greatness. And because he is all these things, I do not need to WIN, by my KNOWLEDGE, I just speak his truth, in love, and God will do the rest.
Lord help me sit in this reality, and in your greatness, not doubting your glory, grace and mercy, and not being driven by my own pride and "knowledge", for it is true, "I do not yet know, what I ought to know". (Corinthians 8:2)
In Jesus name I pray these things. Thank you Lord that you hear and you answer.
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