THE Apostle Paul wrote, “Knowledge puffeth up”. He was not condemning knowledge, but simply stating a truth. Knowledge of the right kind is excellent, but even that may tend to inflate the individual who possesses it. Men may be puffed up even by their knowledge of the scriptures, especially if their reading has been ill-balanced. Much charity is needed to guard against this evil and to make knowledge lead to edification.
There are people who will say that it is only the dangerous “little knowledge” that puffs men up, while those who have studied deeply are truly humble and never boast. This thought has been stated often, but it is not true. Indeed it would be difficult to define the words of such a saying. All the knowledge of mankind is only little. The most ignorant and the most cultured are only separated by a few degrees. It is quite true that intelligent people perceive the ugliness and folly of blatant boasting and so if they boast they do it more skilfully. Or it is possible for a man to feel himself so superior to the common run of humanity that he finds no pleasure in the admiration of the multitude. His detachment is a form of pride, and he may fall into the worst of errors by being puffed up against God.
ISLIP COLLYER, Principles and Proverbs, pages 128,129.
8Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.But if any man love God, the same is known of him.As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.