Puffed Up

Updated: Nov 2, 2019


We have all heard that "knowledge puffs up." This comes from 1 Corinthians 8:1.

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. (New International Version - NIV)

About food offered to idols: We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. (Holman Christian Standard Bible - HCSB)

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. (English Standard Version - ESV)

Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. (New Living Translation - NLT)

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. (King James Version - KJV)

Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. (New King James Version - NKJV)

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (Christian Standard Bible - CSB)

Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. (New American Standard Bible - NASB)

Now in regard to meat sacrificed to idols: we realize that “all of us have knowledge”; knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. (New American Bible - Revised Edition - NABRE)

[I included 1 Corinthians 8:1 from several popular Bible versions to show you it says the same thing meaning-wise in these Bibles. Some of the above versions are literal and some are balanced. The last one - the NABRE is a Catholic Bible. You may not be familiar with the Christian Standard Bible - CSB because it was just published in 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. 100 scholars from 17 denominations worked on it. I hear it is an excellent version. "Research shows that CSB is both highly literal to the original languages and highly readable, achieving an optimal balance of the two." (Source: biblegateway.com)]

Back to "knowledge puffs up." I was going to write a blog on this, but then I came across Knowledge Puffs Up? - Deflating a Popular Proverb by Jeffrey E. Miller. Excellent read! And please read it before you read any more of what I have to say.

Did you read it?

I read and study the Bible. I am frequently going down that proverbial rabbit hole - researching things like the difference between a pharisee and sadducee; the time period between the Old Testament and New Testament; the reliability of our biblical text;...

But, I know that assuming HEAD KNOWLEDGE = HEART KNOWLEDGE is a falsehood.

It can, and it should, but it doesn't necessarily always happen that way.

At the foundation of the Gospel is we must know who we are in relation to who God is. This is step #1. We must know we are wretched sinners who deserve death before we can accept His free gift of redemption through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Once we come to step #1 and repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness; we can move on to belief in Jesus as our Savior and Lord; and becoming more like Him, our spiritual journey. If we have never come to the realization of who we are in relationship to who God is; then we only identify as Christian and aren't really. We will come to the end of our earthly life and He will say He never knew us. (Matthew 7:21-23)

How do we become more like Jesus? It is by acquiring knowledge of who He is and what He expects of us. So knowledge is good. It is good to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18) But growing in knowledge doesn't necessarily mean we are growing in grace.

I have found some knowledge I acquire sometimes doesn't make it to my heart or is slow to get to my heart. My knowledge doesn't always reflect itself in my actions, in doing His will. For instance, I have knowledge of what the Bible says about forgiveness, but I am sometimes slow or I fail to truly forgive. Other knowledge "puffs me up" in that I become prideful. 'Look what I know!' I must always be in prayer asking God to humble my heart and to help me grow in the grace of Jesus Christ.

I must have a clear perspective on who I am - an undeserving sinner. That fact will never change while I am alive here on earth.

He is a holy, just, loving, almighty God. That fact will never change.

No amount of academic knowledge will benefit me until I get step #1 down and keep it in mind as I journey through life.

Mostly though I have found that acquiring knowledge has deepened my faith. I have a surety in knowing what I believe and why I believe it that I didn't have before. I realize that what I have learned is making its way to my heart and transforming my thinking and my actions. This comes from regularly reading and studying the Bible.

Our knowledge must go hand in hand with love.

The knowledge we acquire should be used to build up His kingdom.

We want to know about Him and we want to know Him.

That is the end goal of acquiring knowledge. To grow in grace.

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."

Matthew 22:37 (CSB)

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© 2015 by Carolyn Hurst