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The Scriptorium

To Know and Be Known

It's what we're all about. 1 Corinthians 8.2, 3

1 Corinthians 8 (2)

Pray Psalm 139.1-5.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Sing Psalm 139.1-5.
(Ripley: Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
You have searched me, LORD, and known me,
when I sit and when I rise;
from afar, my thoughts discerning,
all my path before You lies.
Every word, before it’s spoken,
You behold and know it well.
Both behind me and before me,
Your sweet Presence I can tell!

Read 1 Corinthians 8.1-3; meditate on verses 2, 3.

1. What does Paul say about knowing anything?

2. Who is known by God?

The Lord Jesus warned that a day was coming when those who thought they knew a thing or two about being a Christian would be shocked and dismayed to discover that they were practitioners of lawlessness and would be cast out of His Presence (Matt. 7.21-23).

Paul’s focus in 1 Corinthians 8 is on knowing—how we can know what is right and true. He warned against any knowledge we might acquire or suppose we possess that merely puffs us up and edifies no one (v. 1). In verses 2 and 3 he extends the definition of true knowledge all the way to its proper and defining end and source.

“And if anyone thinks that he knows anything…” That is, if we claim to know anything in a way that ends in me, as if knowledge were determined by what sits well with me, then we don’t really know as we’re supposed to. How we ought to know is in reference to God and His will, and especially with respect to Jesus, to Whom we belong (Rom. 11.36; 1 Cor. 6.22, 23). The end of all knowing, in other words, is to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. If we know and love Jesus, then we’ll know everything else as we “ought to know.”

We know God when we truly love Him (v. 3). And best of all, when we know Him like that and love Him because of everything we know, then we can know that He knows us, and we are safe in Him. Knowing Him and being known by Him: This is what God wants most of all for us.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
There was a time when, if asked what God wants most of all for us, we may have answered thus:
He wants me to be good.
He wants me to go to church.
He wants me to tithe.
He wants me to be “sugar and spice and everything nice”;
or if of another gender, at least “snips and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails”.

But alas, none of these things are what God wants most of all for us.
However, what He does want is amazing in its substance—To know Him.

And that we can do. And want to do. And rejoice to pursue.
For truly, we want to know the One Who loves us supremely; and Whom we love above all others.

Paul wrote, that all the things we thought we had ever known are as a mirage. All that knowing was nothing…yet. But the knowing of God, now that is something (1 Cor. 8.2, 3). And when we truly know God, then all the other known things are put in a proper perspective, and become something, when viewed through the lens of life in the Kingdom.

“For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1.12).
“For I know that the LORD is great, and our LORD is above all gods.
Whatever the LORD pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places” (Ps. 135.5, 6).

Then most graciously, when we know and love God, we are blessed with the knowledge that He knows and loves us (1 Cor. 8.3). Then we can pray, with David, his prayer:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties;
and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139.23, 24).

Safe in His love (1 Jn. 4.18) to know and be known.

For reflection
1. How would you explain to an unbelieving friend what it means to know God?

2. Loving God and our neighbors is the evidence that we are known by God. Why does this matter?

3. How can believers help one another to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3.18)?

“the person who imagines that he knows something”—that is, who becomes proud in what he thinks he knows so that he prefers himself to others and is self-conceited—“does not yet know what he ought to know.” For the foundation of all true knowledge is personal knowledge of God, which produces in us humility and submission; indeed, rather than raising us up, it completely brings us low. For where pride is, there is ignorance of God. This is a beautiful passage that I wish everyone would learn by heart so that they might hold to the rule of right knowledge. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on the 1 Corinthians 8.1-3

Pray Psalm 139.23, 24.
Take some time to wait in silence on the Lord as He searches your soul to convict, encourage, teach, and grow you into Himself.

Sing Psalm 139.23, 24.
(Ripley: Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
Search my heart, O LORD, and know me,
as You only, LORD, can do.
Test my thoughts and contemplations,
whether they be vain or true.
Let there be no sin in me, LORD,
nothing that Your Spirit grieves.
Lead me in the righteous way, LORD,
unto everlasting peace!

T. M. and Susie Moore

How can we know everything we know so that we know, love, and serve God always? Our book, Know, Love, Serve goes into detail about how all knowing and all knowledge are from, through, and unto Jesus. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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