Sometimes, it is not clear how to practice particular scripture ideas or commands.
This is not because the Scriptures aren’t clear enough, but instead because of our fallen sinful state. (yes, even Christians are still sinful!)
This effects the mind’s clarity as much as it effects anything else.
It could also be because one lacks the experience necessary to understand how to apply them.
One of these that may not be clear is a simple statement Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 8:1:
Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge”. This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
Specifically here, Paul is talking to Christians who know that “an idol has no real existence, that there is no God but one”. v4 (Put “The Spaghetti Monster” in place of “idol” in the text and the point should come in to focus.)
But in the 2nd half of the verse, he gives a principle that is foundational to Christianity.
Knowledge puffs up, love builds up.
If anything, there is too much “knowledge” in the world. People think they know exactly what you need. If you just listened to them, you wouldn’t have the trouble you have!
Er…if you just listened to us.
I would like to exclude myself from that statement, but unfortunately I suffer from the same pride everyone else does sometimes.
So what does this verse tell us?
Sometimes we just need to listen.
Sometimes that’s all they need.
They just need to know that someone cares.
My marriage had some rough patches early on. Really rough.
We went to the older people at church and to middle aged people who’d been married for awhile, for help.
But we couldn’t seem to find answers.
We met with 6 other couples.
They gave us lots of good advice.
We even did a 3 month long Bible study with an elder and his wife.
No one had the answers we needed.
And then, after about 8 years, we found people who… Just listened.
And we finally found answers.
“Knowledge” in this verse is equivalent to sharing one’s knowledge.
But that doesn’t build up. Love does.
Love will share it’s knowledge, but only at the right time, for the right reason, in the right way.
God is better at that than we will ever be.
He also knows when to use one of us. And when that time comes, you will know.