Knowing – In Part

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; . . . now I know in part.”

How confident are you of the things you believe?  Perhaps you are very confident.  It is interesting that the verse above, which cautions us regarding the things we know (or think we know), is a part of what is known as “the love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13.  At the very beginning of this chapter we are warned that “though I . . . understand all mysteries, and all knowledge. . . and have not love, I am nothing.”  The focus here is on how we handle the knowledge that we have.  We are warned here that no matter how much we know, or think we know, we don’t know anything perfectly.  In fact, we actually see many, if not most things imperfectly, as if we’re looking at them through a dark glass. 

So why is this language here, in the love chapter?  One likely reason is that the type of love described here, agape, means “self-sacrificial service towards others.”  It’s all about how we act toward one another; the things we do for one another.  One of the great tests of love is our reaction to those who don’t think like we do and who may not see things the same way we do.  When that’s the case, especially in those situations where you and I just know we’re right and the other person is wrong, what do we think, do, and say?  And perhaps we are right.  What are we to do in such cases? 

What we are told in this classic passage on love is that we are to respond with love, not animosity.  One thing that may help us here is the acknowledgement that no matter how much we know, we don’t know it all, and we never will. And if our reaction towards others who don’t see the world as we do is animosity, we can be absolutely certain that we are not acting in a way that glorifies God. A “know it all” who lacks love, is a “nothing” according to God’s Word.  Examples are Paul, who, as a Jewish Pharisee, i.e., an expert on religious matters, was persecuting Christians because he just knew they were very wrong, while all along, he was the one who knew nothing. 

The Bible was given to us to teach us the knowledge of God. It is filled with God’s eternal truth.  It is so very important that we study it and know it.  Still, we must have a teachable spirit, always acknowledging that there are many things we don’t know as well as we may think, as well as having a loving attitude and response towards those who hold opposing views. This is Christianity in action in the lives of those sinners whom God has saved by HIs grace. 

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