But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. (1 Cor. 8:1)
Someone could get rich fast by publishing a Bible that includes all the phrases that people mistakenly think are in there already. When a sentence begins “Like the Bible says,” it often ends in folk wisdom that may or may not be true but certainly isn’t biblical.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness” is a good example. So is “God helps those who help themselves.” Some are absolutely convinced that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is in there. “God will never give us more than we can handle” is a recent favorite too.
One possible entry for that imaginary Holy Bible: Folk Wisdom Edition is closer than most to the actual message of Scripture. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” is actually a quotation from Theodore Roosevelt, but it fits well with Paul’s words to the Corinthian church about the relative value of knowledge and love.
Paul himself received a classical Jewish education under a master teacher named Gamaliel, but in his pride, Paul became a fanatical persecutor of the Lord he later served—the Lord who said that the greatest commandments were loving God and loving others.
Knowledge doesn’t have to lead to arrogance, of course, but it can, and when it does, it’s just ignorance in another form. Love, however, builds for time and eternity. Knowledge educates, but love edifies.
Let love remain “the greatest of these” in your spiritual priorities.
Bob Black is an emeritus professor of religion at Southern Wesleyan University. Along with Keith Drury, he coauthored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.