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knowledge vs. love

August 31, 2007

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

I’ve read this several times over the past few days. I’m captivated by verse 2, “For I determined not to know anything …”

It makes perfect sense that Paul would have to determine not to know anything. If you’ve been reading the New Testament from the gospels, by the time you get to this statement you’ve just waded through 16 chapters of Paul knowing quite a bit. In his letter to the Roman church he reasons and he argues and wields logic all over the place. Paul was an intelligent man; he probably had the Old Testament memorized. And yet here, as he recalls his visit to Corinth, he remembers that he purposed in his heart to be ignorant of anything but the gospel.

Paul did not set out to impress the Corinthian people with his vast knowledge, understanding, or divine revelation of the scriptures. He did not reason with them on theology, or share his ideas on angels and demons. He knew nothing among them, “except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

I can’t imagine the kind of humility that requires.

This morning I started thinking about the value of knowledge in our society. How much time and how much money do we spend trying to see how may facts we can make ourselves remember? Of course, a certain level of knowledge is good and necessary. But I had a high school history teacher who, when asked the annoying and very disrespectful “Why do we need to know this?” question, responded, “So you can look smart and pick up girls at cocktail parties.” I wonder if most of our drive for knowledge – as a society – isn’t rooted in vanity.

And I wonder, if I can be long-winded this morning, how that priority started. Somewhere during the genesis of our culture a group of people decided that an individual with a lot of knowledge is more valuable than a person who loves well, and the amassing of knowledge became the driving factor in our society.

When I was a freshman in college I spent one morning in an adviser’s office agonizing over changing my major when she finally told me, “It really doesn’t matter. As long as you get a degree from this school you can get a good job just about anywhere.” It doesn’t even matter, to some extent, what you know anymore, as long as you know a lot about something.

I wonder what it would do to our society – and our world – if we refocused some of that energy on teaching our students how to love (because “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” is the greatest expression of love). What if, instead of teaching 15-year-olds basic trigonometry, we taught them love? What if we took classes to homeless shelters or nursing homes where they could practice loving the unlovely? What if role playing had less to do with making a sale and more to do with turning the other cheek? I wonder.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Loretta permalink
    August 31, 2007 10:53 pm

    It sound like theres a little bit of passion behind your words Lex. And you have a bunch of subjects to work with. I know that they’re probably learning some of their most valuable lessons from what your teaching them at youth group. How blessed they are.

  2. KnowYourGod permalink
    August 31, 2007 11:17 pm

    How blessed am I to be in the “in” of this blog, I am always challenged and edified by it. and as for the topic at hand i of course whole heartedly agree.

  3. zarris permalink
    September 1, 2007 4:33 am

    hey there lex…its me jake i really like what your saying here and i really enjoy paul at that time he just states that its all about the simple things keep it to the cross so amazing.

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