Love Builds Up

1 Corinthians 8:1–3

Principle for Bible Reading

Is knowledge good or bad? 1 Corinthians 8:1–3 says that knowledge can lead to pride or to love, so how do we know which our knowledge is? Pastor John unfolds the life of the mind in this new lab.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–00:43)

The Progression of Pride (00:43–03:26)

  1. Knowledge leads to pride. (1 Corinthians 8:1)
  2. Pride leads to lovelessness.
  3. Lovelessness leads to destruction (hurting others).

To Know or Not to Know (03:26–07:03)

What kind of knowledge is good? And what kind is destructive?

  1. There is a knowledge that is good (“as he ought to know”).
  2. Knowledge that puffs up is an imaginary knowledge (“if anyone imagines that he knows something”).
  3. If your knowing is not serving others it’s not true knowing.
  4. To know as you ought is to love God. You don’t know anything unless your knowing is resulting in love for God.
  5. Therefore, true knowledge loves and serves people (1 Corinthians 8:1) and treasures God (1 Corinthians 8:3).

Known by God (07:03–08:46)

  1. Whoever loves God — that is, has a knowledge producing love — has been known by God. They have been chosen by God (cf. Amos 3:2).
  2. God’s election totally undermines our propensity toward pride in our knowledge. God is under and behind all of our knowing.

Summary (08:46–10:42)

  1. Election ⇒
  2. Humility ⇒
  3. True Knowledge ⇒
  4. Love for God and Love for People ⇒
  5. Building Up of Others ⇒
  6. Others Love God and People

Study Questions

  1. Based on 1 Corinthians 8:1–3, is knowledge good or bad? How do you know whether your knowledge is good or bad?
  2. What is the imaginary knowledge in 1 Corinthians 8:2?
  3. Why might Paul say, “he is known by God, and not, “he knows God”? What does it mean to be known by God?

Recents Labs from John Piper

  1. “The Spirit in You Is Life” on Romans 8:9
  2. “You Are Not Your Own” on Romans 8:12–13
  3. “The Spirit Lives in You” on Romans 8:12–13
Piper: “If you have knowledge that is making you proud, rather than loving, you don’t really know anything.”