It's Not What You Know

About food offered to idols; we know that ‘we all have knowledge.’ Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
— 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

One purpose in Paul's writing this letter to the Corinthian church was to answer specific questions. One question concerned food offered to idols. Imagine something like this taking place: 

There is a popular restaurant on Main Street called, "Momma's Down-home Cooking." It is well known that the owner of this establishment buys his meat from the temple down the street. You see, the worshippers bring animals to be offered as sacrifices to the "gods." The priests take the meat at the end of the day and butcher it. Then they sell it to the restauranteur. It's a sweet little set up. The priests pocket the cash and the owner of Momma's gets his meat at discount prices.

One day a new Christian walks by and sees his Sunday School teacher coming out of Momma's. The teacher has a sauce stain on his tie. The new Christian thinks, "My teacher eats at Momma's? We all know where that meat comes from! It has been dedicated to a false god. Isn't that a betrayal of Christ?" 

But the teacher thinks, "I know that idols are not real. Therefore, the fact that it has been dedicated to an idol means nothing. There is nothing wrong with eating it. Besides, I'm practicing good stewardship because Momma's has the cheapest burgers in town!" 

Here is what Paul says: "Knowledge inflates with pride." Knowledge can give you the big-head! But more than pride, this is false thinking. He says, "You don't know as much as you think you do, big boy!" They were impressed by their own knowledge, but they were not thinking through the consequences of their actions. They were not taking into consideration that acting on their knowledge might be hurting someone else. This is always wrong because it breaks the law of love. 

Then Paul makes this statement: "But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him." In other words, it is not what you know that matters as much as who knows you! The most important thing about you is not how much you know, but "does God know you?" He knows you if you have put your faith in His Son as your Savior. The bottom line is: you can know a lot and still not be a Christian. Your head can be filled with a lot of information about God and still be far from Him personally (18 inches between heaven and hell-knowing Christ in your head but not in your heart). The big thing is not what you know, but what you do with what you know! Have you acted on your knowledge in faith? Belief is more important than knowledge. Your head can be filled with a plethora of useless information. But have you acted on the information you possess? Unless you have acted on it you really do not believe it. When you have acted on it in faith you are then known by God. And once you have acted on that knowledge in faith, and are known by God, do you now act in love? 

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13

Knowledge is not mentioned on the list, but it is included in all three. Knowledge tells us what to believe, what to hope for, and how to show love. So know. Learn. Dig. Explore. But let love inform your use of knowledge in everything.