Submitted by Lyn on Fri, 04/12/2009 – 10:45
Bible Book: 1 Corinthians / 1 Korintiers
Verse: 1 – 13
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
The congregation in Corinth has probably sent Paul a letter with a number of questions and concerns. In Chapter 8 Paul responds to their question regarding the eating of food that has been offered to idols. In his answer Paul applies an important principle to this practical question. Paul acknowledges that the believers in Corinth have sound knowledge. However, he challenges them about their compassion for one another. The important viewpoint we need to understand when we read this chapter is that there is a very important relationship between knowledge and love, between understanding and compassion, between truth and kindness. When these relationships are broken, knowledge alone makes us arrogant, understanding may actually be misunderstanding and indifferent truth can hurt someone.
It is also important to remember that love without truth can easily be deceived. While direct translations translate verse 1b as “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (NIV), the interpretative translations help us more. Compare the NLT: “But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.” I find the following application of this chapter by William Loader enlightening: “In each new situation we need to decide. The issue is always relationships, seen in the context of God’s will of wholeness for people. It can never just be about being right or about getting people by hook or crook to do things our way.” Paul gives his own practical application in verse 13: “So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble” (NLT).
To think about (or discuss): Is there a connection between “HIV-related stigma” and “knowledge without love”? Author: N du Toit (Ds)