1 Corinthians 8 begins with an interesting use of the word ‘knowledge’. Paul says, “knowledge puffs up” (8:1). We can be proud of what we know, and this undermines our wise use of that knowledge. Paul says, “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God” (verses 2,3).
What should we know correctly but do not yet know? And what is it to be “known by God”? Surely, it is to have a relationship with Him! Job spent all his life trying to understand God’s ways and have a relationship with Him; when ultimately “the LORD answered Job” it was with a question, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge” (38:1,2). Job knew God in theory and spoke of Him “what is right” (42:7) but in the end confesses, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye sees you” (verse 5).
What kind of eye was this? Paul says to the Ephesians, “[have] the eyes of your hearts enlightened” (2:18). Have our hearts developed “eyes”? In the previous verse Paul said he was “remembering you in my prayers” and had asked that “God … the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him …”
There was only one who had a full knowledge of the Father! There is a significant verse in that wonderful prophecy about Christ in Isaiah 53 and we may fail to grasp its full significance: “… by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (verse 11). Our Lord knew God in the fullest sense.
Returning to Corinthians Paul challenges the thinking of these believers who were former idol worshippers. The idols had seemed real to them! Was God now real to them instead? Was their faith so real that they were starting to “know” and have a relationship with Him? Were the idols and the worship they had practiced still distracting them: evidently it was, with some. Are things threatening to distract us?
Is God’s word coming alive, driving out the distractions of today’s idols? Let’s focus on the point Paul made to the Hebrews, “… the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (4:12). Is that happening to us as we read and understand? Are we “known by God”?