“Knowing” – As found in 1 Corinthians 8:2

On 1 Corinthians 8:2

If someone thinks that he knows something, he does not yet know how he must know.

Knowing in the Kingdom is different from knowing in the world. In the New Testament it is revealed that knowledge is the property of the Holy Spirit, to be dispensed at the point of need.  Paul seems to be instructing the Socratic position of knowing that you do not know – and relying instead on the faithfulness of God the Holy Spirit to give knowledge when required. Therefore trusting the Spirit for knowledge is a matter of relationship, which is cultivated by discipleship and practice.

This practice of waiting on the Holy Spirit for knowledge, Paul indicates, is a required discipline from his people, for where he says ‘he does not yet know as he ought to know’, the word we translate as ‘ought’ is dei, which indicates an absolute imperative which cannot be avoided, in other words it is not optional, but necessary that Christians must know according to God’s knowledge and not according to their own.

The word translated ‘thinks’ in the above Scripture, is dokei, which is related to the word doxa, which means glory. At a stretch we might interpret the sentence “Whoever glories in possessing knowledge does not yet know as he ought to know”. It appears that to think one knows something is a form of earthly glorying. It is a resting in a gift rather than in the Giver.

Just as we walk by faith, and see by faith, so we also know by faith. As far as knowing goes, the attitude to take is that of Joseph and Daniel who said, I cannot, but there is One who can (Genesis 41:16, Daniel 2:27-28).

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