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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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 "Insights" from the New Testament Greek

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

"What's Wrong with "Knowledge? 1 Cor. 8:1

In Paulís first letter to the Corinthian Church, chapter 8 verse 1, Paul makes the statement: "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity (agape love) edifieth."

Well meaning Christian friends have asked me "why do you study the Bible so much? Donít you know that knowledge puffs up but love edifies"?

We do want to be motivated by agape love from God, and to "edify" or "build up" our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. We also do not want to be arrogant or proud, but is arrogance the result of too much "knowledge"?

Underneath the word "knowledge" in 1 Cor. 8:1 is the Greek word "gnosis", meaning, in this context, an isolated and incomplete "list of facts", or "a little knowledge". Yes, we even have a common saying that "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

But, there is another Greek word for "knowledge" in the New Testament, and that is "epignosis". The "epi" prefix indicates a "full" knowledge, and we are repeatedly urged to grow into that "epignosis", or "full knowledge":

ĖCol 1:10, "filled with the knowledge (epignosis) of Godís will".

ĖCol 3:10, "being renewed by knowledge (epignosis) into the image of him that created us".

Ė2 Pet 3:18, "Grow in grace and in the knowledge (epignosis) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".

An "epignosis", or full knowledge of any Biblical subject is not just a few select verses, but a knowledge of what the whole Word of God teaches on that subject.

We can never have too much "knowledge" (epignosis) of Godís Word. Godís Word placed in our soul by the Holy Spirit gives us an increasing awareness of Godís will, and the strength and character to live the Christian life.

Godís Word resident in our soul is the only thing we can "take with us" from this life into the next!

In a partial list of facts alone, there IS the danger of pride and arrogance.

But, as Col 3:16 states, Keep on letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; keep on teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.