Puffed Up or Built Up? | Inspiration Ministries
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Puffed Up or Built Up?

by Inspiration Ministries
We know that all of us possess knowledge. This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 ESV

Food offered to idols presented a major problem for first-century Christians. To settle the matter, church leaders decided on one firm rule: Gentiles should abstain from the things polluted by idols (Acts 15:20). This was essential in order to be good witnesses, and to live in ways that were pleasing to God. But Paul felt that a deeper issue was involved: knowledge.

Some Christians seemed to act as if they were especially important because of the things they knew. Yet Paul stressed that everyone has some kind of unique knowledge, tempting them to rely on themselves and their special insights. Such knowledge was potentially dangerous, leading to pride and a feeling of superiority.

This smug attitude about our knowledge can be crippling to Christians. But there’s an antidote: love! While knowledge can cause us to become proud, love always builds up. The Greek word refers to a person who builds a house. While those motivated by knowledge can tear down, those motivated by love will be constructive. By our knowledge we even can destroy the brother for whom Christ died. Even though we feel completely justified in our actions, we can harm others and sin against Christ (vs. 11-12). Paul later warned that if we have all knowledge but don’t have love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). Thus, knowledge without love is meaningless and ineffective. It’s just a collection of information.

Ask God to fill your life with love. Be careful about communicating what you know. Instead, seek to be motivated by love, always building up others.


Father, I humble myself before You. Fill me with Your love. Help me to be Your instrument in spreading the Gospel. In Jesus name. Amen.

Extended Reading

1 Corinthians 8
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