1 Corinthians 8:1-2
“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.”
In an effort to resolve certain arguments among the church members of Corinth, Paul begins with this admonition. He wanted to emphasize that, although the questions and concerns that had been raised were important, the more important issue was that anyone who claimed to have the answers and was speaking for Christ did not and was not. The real divide was not the differences in opinion that might naturally arise (such as was it acceptable for Christians to eat the meat of animals sacrificed to idols) but that certain individuals had taken it upon themselves to speak and act as if they had divine authority.
Although our current faith questions are different from those of the Corinthians, the issue of individuals or sects or religions claiming absolute knowledge of God’s Will or Jesus’ Way or the Teachings of the Bible remains the single greatest cause of conflict among people and nations.
Paul’s admonition is as appropriate now as it was then. Perhaps even more so, given the impact of electronic media and the ability to transmit “knowledge” to millions of people instantaneously. Those who think they have ownership of the truth do nothing but create conflict. But those who can love others they disagree with, or who have different beliefs, are all recognized by God. He sees us reaching towards him, seeking more closeness, each in his own way on his own way. We are all climbing the same mountain alone together.
Lord, help me discern my individual path to you and be willing to do the hard work of knowing for myself. Amen