Something More Than Knowledge

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People

“Bad things happen when maturity is more defined by knowing than by being.” (p. 42)

Have you ever noticed this verse in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2?  It says, ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up.  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.

After I graduated from seminary I felt a surprising spiritual lack.  I wasn’t consciously aware of my own presupposition but apparently I assumed that because I knew more that my relationship with Christ was stronger.  While going to seminary was one of the most important and best decisions I’d ever made, I think I overestimated or misunderstood what seminary was intended to provide.  My studies were to promote an increasing love for Jesus through the things that I learned.  More knowledge was not the end but a means to an end.  That end was love for God through Christ salvific work.  Once God’s Spirit helped to me to realize this truth through his word, I made a personal decision the following year after seminary to read and study only God’s word and to table all my other readings for the purpose of reignited passion for God and experiencing his steadfast love through grace in his Son.

Unfortunately in our western culture we are trained to believe that what we know equals who we are.  So much of our identity and security is dependent upon our intellect.  This is the case both for the believer as well as the unbeliever.  But the apostle Paul tells us that knowledge alone only makes us conceited.  Love on the other hand builds up.  Love edifies and transforms.  In addition, the apostle corrects our thinking by letting us know that the pursuit of knowledge in itself is futile because we cannot know anything completely or perfectly.  Our knowledge is incomplete and lacking so to pursue it as a means of framing ones identity is an exercise in frustration and emptiness.  However, he goes on to say that if we increase in loving God we are known by God.  Notice it is better to be known by God that to know more of something.  Our value and worth is determined not by what we know but by God knowing us.  And he knows us by our love for his Son Jesus and our faith in Christ’s atoning work.

Pastor’s and theologians especially must constantly guard their hearts from this trap laid and pioneered by Satan himself, who thought that because he was the brightest of the angels, gifted in ability and knowledge, that he could assume the throne of the Almighty.  We have to prioritize love above knowledge.  We must have the humility to say “I’d rather not know that compromise my love for Jesus.”  As Dr. Tripp said, bad things happen when maturity is measured by what we know and not who we are.  Who we are is based upon character which is developed through obedience.  Our maturity in Christ is measured by our obedience more than our knowledge.  Jesus said if you love me then you will obey, not you will read more books.  At the end of the day, knowledge will pass away but faith, hope, and love will remain.  And the greatest of these three is love.


535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles