Knowledge or Love?

Pray:

Lord of love, help me to live as You did, giving myself freely for the sake of love.

 

Read: 1 CORINTHIANS 8:1-13

[1] Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. [2] Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. [3] But whoever loves God is known by God.[4] So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” [5] For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), [6] yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. [7] But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. [8] But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. [9] Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. [10] For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? [11] So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. [12] When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. [13] Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

 

Reflect: What is an equivalent to this scenario in our day?

The phrase “now about” signals that Paul is addressing an issue raised by the church–in this case, the consumption of food sacrificed to idols. Should they or should they not eat such food? The church wants Paul’s advice.

Those who advocate eating the sacrificial meat believe that they know better than those who connect the meat with idol worship (2,7). Their knowledge, as far as they are concerned, puts them in a superior position to these “weaker” Christians. Paul points out that their knowledge, while based on an appropriate view of God, is not governed by a healthy ethic. By eating meat at the temple feasts, some are effectively encouraging the “weaker” believers to join in the feasts, and thus to partake in idol worship.

Paul does not accept “knowledge” as justification for conduct that causes others to sin. He even calls such conduct sin against others. The “knowledgeable” Christians are choosing their rights over the needs of other people.

Knowledge is valuable, but what counts is what you do with it. The foundation of Christian ethics is love.

 

Apply:

Consider how you are exercising your freedom. Is it motivated by love?

 

Pray:

Father of light, fill me with Your Spirit and Your grace. I want to shine Your light to the world.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union, scriptureunion.org