John Piper on Prostituted Knowing

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “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. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 

So the crucial question is: “What would turn this imagined knowing into true knowing?” In other words, what does it mean to know as one ought to know? To think as one ought to think? The answer is in the text before and behind.

Before, Paul had said love builds up (v.1). That implies that any knowledge that does not stand in the service of love is not real knowing. It is prostituted knowing. It is as though God put surgical tools in our hands and taught us how to save the sick, but we turned them into a clever juggling act while patients died. Knowing and thinking exist for the sake of love- for the sake of building people up in faith. Thinking that produces pride instead of love is not true thinking-. We only imagine that we are thinking. God does not see it as thinking. It’s not surgery; it’s juggling.

-John Piper, Taken from Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God (pp.159-160).

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