Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been going through 1 Corinthians 13 lately and tonight, I’d like to look at one of my favorite topics as an apologist, and that is the topic of knowledge. After all, for many of us, our books are our life’s blood. A Seminary professor’s wife I know once stated in a talk to women whose husbands were in Seminary “Make peace with the books.” Books mean everything to us.
The relevant part of 1 Cor. 13:2 tonight tells us that if we can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge but don’t have love, we are nothing. Now consider that if you are of the apologetic mindset. Paul refers to many things in the Bible as mysteries. These could not be understood without divine revelation. Note that he doesn’t mean it in the sense in which a pastor often asked how God can be three and one says “It’s a mystery” instead of giving an answer that He is three in one sense and one in another.
Imagine having that spiritual insight that when Paul speaks about a mystery, you could say that you knew it all along. You were able to divine that before the revelation was given. Paul wants you to realize that even if you could do that, if you did not have love, you are nothing.
What about if you have all knowledge? Now Paul does say in 1 Corinthians 8:1 that knowledge puffs up. The solution to this is not to cast aside knowledge but to gain humility in addition to knowledge. Sadly, this knowledge can often come across in the form of spirituality. After all, I know what God approves and disapproves of and I am a better Christian than you for doing what he approves and not doing what he does not approve.
In the apologetics community however, it’s easy to think that you have to answer every objection out there. It’s tempting to see other people as a threat. We have to avoid that. We also have to realize that just because someone knows a lot about God, it does not mean that they really know God. The love of God is more than intellectual knowledge, although it is certainly helped by such knowledge. The more you love something, the more you will want to know about that something.
C.S. Lewis wrote about how it can be to look at the woman in church who is a little old lady and think about what an impoverished life she lives not knowing about such things as the Nicene Creed or the Calvinism/Arminianism debate or who Irenaeus and Justin Martyr were, but then you realize that in her prayer life and devotion to God overall, you are not worthy to untie her sandals, it brings a humility to you. Let us never make the mistake of thinking that being a better Christian apologist means that we are a better Christian.
Now I’m not saying that this lady would not be blessed by knowing about the Nicene Creed and such. In fact, I think she should seek to know about them, but she does not have to be an intellectual. Not all Christians are of that kind of mindset. That is fine. Each has their own part to play.
For instance, in our household, I am the intellectual. My wife is smarter than she realizes, but her bent is more towards matters of the heart. That is fine. She helps me in many ways by seeing things from a layman’s perspective that I often miss and by being a strong encouragement and fortification for me.
Is knowledge important? Absolutely. Knowledge is not love and if we do not have our knowledge with love, we essentially have nothing.
We shall look at the next part next time.