And if any man think that he knows any thing, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
And if any think ... - The connection and the scope of this passage require us to understand this as designed to condemn that vain conceit of knowledge, or self-confidence, which would lead us to despise others, or to disregard their interests. "If anyone is conceited of his knowledge, is so vain, and proud, and self-confident, that he is led to despise others, and to disregard their true interests, he has not yet learned the very first elements of true knowledge as he ought to learn them, True knowledge will make us humble, modest, and kind to others. It will not puff us up, and it will not lead us to overlook the real happiness of others." See Romans 11:25
Any thing - Any matter pertaining to science, morals, philosophy, or religion. This is a general maxim pertaining to all pretenders to knowledge.
He knoweth nothing yet ... - He has not known what is most necessary to be known on the subject; nor has he known the true use and design of knowledge, which is to edify and promote the happiness of others. If a man has not so learned anything as to make it contribute to the happiness of others, it is a proof that he has never learned the true design of the first elements of knowledge. Paul's design is to induce them to seek the welfare of their brethren. Knowledge, rightly applied, will promote the happiness of all. And it is true now as it was then, that if a man is a miser in knowledge as in wealth; if he lives to accumulate, never to impart; if he is filled with a vain conceit of his wisdom, and seeks not to benefit others by enlightening their ignorance, and guiding them in the way of truth, he has never learned the true use of science, any more than the man has of wealth who always hoards, never gives. It is valueless unless it is diffused, as the light of heaven would be valueless unless diffused all over the world, and the waters would be valueless if always preserved in lakes and reservoirs, and never diffused over hills and vales to refresh the earth.
He knoweth nothing yet, etc. - The person who acts in this rash, unfeeling way, from the general knowledge which he has of the vanity of idolatry and the liberty which the Gospel affords from Jewish rites, with all his knowledge does not know this, that though the first and greatest commandment says, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, etc., yet the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. He, then, that can torment his neighbour's weak or tender conscience with his food or his conduct, does not love him as himself, and therefore knows nothing as he ought to know.
And if any man think that he knows anything,.... Whoever has an opinion of himself, or is conceited with his own knowledge, and fancies that he knows more than he does; which is always the case of those that are elated with their knowledge, and treat others with contempt, and have no regard to their peace and edification:
he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know; if he did, he would know this, that he ought to consult the peace, comfort, and edification of his brother; and therefore whatever knowledge he may fancy he has attained to, or whatever he may be capable of, and hereafter obtain, for the present he must be put down for a man that knows nothing as he should do; for he knows neither his duty to God nor man; if he knew the former, he would know the latter. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
2. And—omitted in the oldest manuscripts The absence of the connecting particle gives an emphatical sententiousness to the style, suitable to the subject. The first step to knowledge is to know our own ignorance. Without love there is only the appearance of knowledge.
knoweth—The oldest manuscripts read a Greek word implying personal experimental acquaintance, not merely knowledge of a fact, which the Greek of "we know" or are aware (1Co 8:1) means.
as he ought to know—experimentally and in the way of "love."
8:1-6 There is no proof of ignorance more common than conceit of knowledge. Much may be known, when nothing is known to good purpose. And those who think they know any thing, and grow vain thereon, are the least likely to make good use of their knowledge. Satan hurts some as much by tempting them to be proud of mental powers, as others, by alluring to sensuality. Knowledge which puffs up the possessor, and renders him confident, is as dangerous as self-righteous pride, though what he knows may be right. Without holy affections all human knowledge is worthless. The heathens had gods of higher and lower degree; gods many, and lords many; so called, but not such in truth. Christians know better. One God made all, and has power over all. The one God, even the Father, signifies the Godhead as the sole object of all religious worship; and the Lord Jesus Christ denotes the person of Emmanuel, God manifest in the flesh, One with the Father, and with us; the appointed Mediator, and Lord of all; through whom we come to the Father, and through whom the Father sends all blessings to us, by the influence and working of the Holy Spirit. While we refuse all worship to the many who are called gods and lords, and to saints and angels, let us try whether we really come to God by faith in Christ.
8:2 If any man think that he knoweth any thing, etc.
If he is inflated with a sense of knowledge, he has not got on the right track for true knowledge. Humility is essential.Verse 2.
- If any man think that he knoweth anything.
Humility is the test of true knowledge, and love the inevitable factor in all Christian knowledge. The conceit of knowledge is usually the usurped self assertion of an imaginary infallibility. We only know "in part," and our knowledge, having at the best a purely relative value, is destined to vanish away (1 Corinthians 13:8
). As he ought to know.
True knowledge has in it an element of moral obligation, and saintliness is
knowledge and supersedes the necessity for formal knowledge. Love is knowledge which has passed into heavenly wisdom. The student may say to the mystic, "All that you see I know;" but the mystic may retort," All that you know, I see."
Proverbs 26:12 See you a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Proverbs 30:2-4 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding …
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, …
Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he …
1 Timothy 1:5-7 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and …
1 Timothy 6:3,4 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even …
That he knoweth anything (ἐγνωκέναι τι)
Or, literally, has come to know. See on John 2:24; see on John 3:10; see on John 17:3. Showing in what sense knowledge was used in the previous clause: fancied knowledge; knowledge of divine things without love.
8:2 If any man think he knoweth any thing - Aright, unless so far he is taught by God. He knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know - Seeing there is no true knowledge without divine love.
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