21 March 2017
1 Corinthians 8:1-8
“Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3but anyone who loves God is known by him.” (vv. 2-3)
In today's passage, Paul is discussing the issue
of eating food that has been sacrificed to idols - which has
evidently become an issue of some contention in the Corinthian
community. Those who believe it's ok to partake of such food seem
to be arguing that "Well, we all know that idols aren't real," and
therefore that there's no harm done.
But Paul counters this argument in a rather
unusual approach. He says that there's essentially a difference
between knowing andknowing. Thanks for that, Paul, very helpful.
But perhaps there's something here about the difference between
what might be termed 'head learning' and 'heart learning.'
I might know, for example, that horror stories
aren't real - that they are constructed to thrill and excite and
commentate on the human condition, not to document any reality that
genuinely exists beyond our own. But try telling that to me in the
middle of the night in an abandoned graveyard and my heart might
betray what I really believe!
To give a slightly more pertinent example, I
know a lot about my husband - his height, eye colour, hair colour,
favourite movies and music preferences … but I know him much more
truly through 11 years of marriage and relationship. I know him
much more fully, more deeply in a way that can't be defined through
mere head knowledge.
In talking about the superiority of love over
knowledge, Paul cleverly makes the point that where our heart
leads, the rest of us will follow. If eating food sacrificed to
idols really has no bearing on one's internal beliefs and thoughts,
fine. But if in some way the hearts of the Corinthians are still
caught up some way in the superstitions and cultures epitomised by
that unholy food, then partaking in it could truly still have a
negative effect. Perhaps, one might argue, it would be better to
abstain altogether until the 'heart knowledge' changes.
- In what areas of your life do 'head knowledge' and 'heart
knowledge' seem to be in conflict? What might need to change?
- Which practices in everyday life might seem harmless, but might
not be healthy for some people because of where our hearts
Bible notes author: Anna Drew