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1 Corinthians 8:8-13 by Robert Dean
Series:1st Corinthians (2002)
Duration:1 hr 0 mins 31 secs

The Importance of Knowledge (Laws of Love); 1 Corinthians 8:8-13

1 Corinthians 8:1 NASB "…Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies." What Paul is attacking here is not knowledge of doctrine per se, what he is assaulting is just a simple academic knowledge of Scripture, one that is not connected with the filling of the Spirit and a knowledge that is not being utilized in the realm of application of doctrine. It is knowledge for knowledge's sake and therefore knowledge makes arrogant.

The doctrine of knowledge and why knowledge is important

1)  Too many Christians take this verse as somehow de-emphasising knowledge or that somehow it reduces the importance of knowledge. But that is not the case. Knowledge is always important, the Scripture emphasises this again and again and again. Without knowledge of doctrine there is no growth, but it has to be the right kind of knowledge. It has to be more than academic knowledge, it has to be more than GNOSIS; it has to be EPIGNOSIS.  

2)  We always know more about any given subject than we ever apply. In fact, our application probably derives from less than five per cent of our total knowledge, much of which we never use; but it is that frame of reference, our pool of knowledge, that provides the necessary frame of reference for what we do apply.

3)  There are two power sources for the Christian life which are interdependent and necessary for any spiritual advance. It is not simply knowledge and it is not simply the Holy Spirit, the two work together. It is the filling ministry of God the Holy Spirit plus knowledge of doctrine.

4)  Knowledge of the Word of God is never ever a problem. You can't know enough. God is infinite; we are finite with finite knowledge. We will spend eternity with God and we will constantly be learning more and more. There is so much to learn in the Scriptures, we have barely scratched the surface. Knowledge in the Bible is always emphasized as a high priority. Major premise: We cannot know God unless he reveals Himself to us. Minor premise: God only reveals Himself substantially in the Bible, therefore we cannot know God substantially unless we know the Bible. Major premise: We cannot know the Bible unless we spend thousands of hours in Bible study. Minor premise: We cannot know God substantially unless we know the Bible. Conclusion: Therefore we cannot know God substantially unless we spend thousands of hours in Bible study. It doesn't happen any other way. That is the way God has decreed that we will know Him—only through the Word of God and what the Word of God says. Therefore knowledge is emphasized in the Bible as the highest priority.

5)  Simple academic knowledge of God is not the goal but is the means to the goal.

6)  The Bible as the Word of God touches on every dimension of human experience. It doesn't leave anything out. It has something to say about everything to provide us with a framework for understanding life from God's perspective.

7)  Scriptures to emphasize knowledge:

Psalm 25:4 NASB "Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. [5] Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day."

Psalm 92:6 NASB "A senseless man has no knowledge, Nor does a stupid man understand this."

Psalm 119:66 NASB "Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments."

Proverbs 1:2 NASB "To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding… [4] To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion… [7] The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction… [22] How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?... [29] Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD. [2:5] Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. [6] For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth {come} knowledge and understanding. [10] For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. [10:14] Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand. [15:14] The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on folly. [18:15] The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Isaiah 5:13 NASB "Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished, And their multitude is parched with thirst."

John 8:32 NASB "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." There is no freedom in the spiritual life if you don't know doctrine, the truth.

Romans 6:3 NASB "Or do you not know …? [6] Knowing this…" The basis for the spiritual life is because you know something. [12:2] "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [thinking], so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [10:2] For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. [3] For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."

Ephesians 1:17 NASB "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him."

Philippians 1:9 NASB "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment."

Colossians 1:10 NASB "so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please {Him} in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

8)  The Christian life is based on thinking; thinking is based on knowledge, and knowledge is the result of learning. Learning is the result of consistency, determination, prioritisation, and refusing to be distracted by the details of life.