1 Corinthians 8:3
But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
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(3) If any man love God.—This explains the nature of the love which edifies. Love to God, and therefore love to man, builds up the whole Christian communion. The man gets outside the mere selfish thought of his own indulgence in his liberty. There is the under-thought in these words (“the same is known of Him”) of the identity between knowing God and being known of Him. The latter is the source of the former. Like water rising to its own level, the love and the knowledge rise as high as their source.

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.But if any man love God - If any man is truly attached to God; if he seeks to serve him, and to promote his glory. The sense seems to be this. "There is no true and real knowledge which is not connected with love to God. This will prompt a man also to love his brethren, and will lead him to promote their happiness. A man's course, therefore, is not to be regulated by mere knowledge, but the grand principle is love to God and love to man. Love edifies; love promotes happiness; love will prompt to what is right; and love will secure the approbation of God." Thus, explained. this difficult verse accords with the whole scope of the parenthesis, which is to show that a man should not be guided in his contact with others by mere knowledge, however great that may be; but that a safer and better principle was "love, charity" (ἀγάπη agapē), whether exercised toward God or man. Under the guidance of this, man would be in little danger of error, Under the direction of mere knowledge he would never be sure of a safe guide; see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.

The same is known of him - The words "is known" (ἔγνωσται egnōstai) I suppose to be taken here in the sense of "is approved by God; is loved by him; meets with his favor, etc." In this sense the word "known" is often used in the Scriptures. See the note at Matthew 7:23. The sense is, "If any man acts under the influence of sacred charity, or love to God, and consequent love to man, he will meet with the approbation of God. He will seek his glory, and the good of his brethren; he will be likely to do right; and God will approve of his intentions and desires, and will regard him as his child. Little distinguished, therefore, as he may be for human knowledge, for that science which puffs up with vain self-confidence, yet he will have a more truly elevated rank, and will meet with the approbation and praise of God. This is of more value than mere knowledge, and this love is a far safer guide than any mere intellectual attainments." So the world would have found it to be if they had acted on it; and so Christians would always find it.

3. love God—the source of love to our neighbor (1Jo 4:11, 12, 20; 5:2).

the same—literally, "this man"; he who loves, not he who "thinks that he knows," not having "charity" or love (1Co 8:1, 2).

is known of him—is known with the knowledge of approval and is acknowledged by God as His (Ps 1:6; Ga 4:9; 2Ti 2:19). Contrast, "I never knew you" (Mt 7:23). To love God is to know God; and he who thus knows God has been first known by God (compare 1Co 13:12; 1Pe 1:2).

It is of much more advantage to a soul to be known of God, that is, owned, acknowledged, and approved, than to comprehend much of the things of God in its notion. A man may know much of God, and yet be one to whom God will one day say: Depart from me, I know you not, you workers of iniquity: but if any man love God, that man is beloved of God, and shall be owned and acknowledged by him. In this sense know is taken in a multitude of scriptures: see John 17:3. Our translators render this word allow, Romans 7:15. But if any man love God,.... As they do, and show it, who love their brethren, and are careful not to grieve them; and make use of their superior knowledge, not for their destruction, but edification:

the same is known of him; is taught by him, made to know more by him; such an one increases in spiritual knowledge, or he is highly approved of, esteemed, and beloved by God: he takes a special and particular notice of him, manifests his love to him, and will own and acknowledge him another day, when proud, haughty, overbearing, and hard hearted professors, will be rejected by him.

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
1 Corinthians 8:3 is one of Paul’s John-like sayings. In the apodosis he substitutes, by an adroit turn, “is known (ἔγνωσται: pf. pass[1228] of abiding effect upon the obj[1229]) by God” for “hath come to know God,” the expected consequence—see the like correction in Galatians 4:9; cf. Php 2:12 f., 1 Corinthians 3:12; John 15:16; 1 John 4:10. Paul would ascribe nothing to human acquisition; religion is a bestowment, not an achievement; our love or knowledge is the reflex of the divine love and knowledge directed toward us. Philo, quoted by Ed[1230], has the same thought: γνωριζόμεθα μᾶλλον ἢ γνωρίζομεν (De Cherub., § 32).—οὗτος ἔγνωσται ὐπʼ αὐτοῦ (sc. τοῦ Θεοῦ), “he (and not the other) is known by Him”. Ev[1231] reverses the ref[1232] of the prons.: “He (God) hath been known by him (the man loving Him)”—an unlikely use of οὗτος.

[1228] passive voice.

[1229] grammatical object.

[1230] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.

[1231] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1232] reference.3. But if any man love God, the same is known of him] Cf. 1 John 4:7-8. But it is observable that St Paul, dealing with inquisitive and argumentative people like the Corinthians and Galatians, takes care to invert the phrase, so as to exclude all glorying on the part of man. In Galatians 4:9 he corrects himself when speaking of knowing God, and in this Epistle, written afterwards, he seems carefully to avoid the expression, and to speak, both here and in ch. 1 Corinthians 13:12, rather of being known by God; So in St John 6:37; John 6:44-45; John 6:65, the same doctrine is taught by Christ Himself. “The knowledge of God presupposes the being known of Him: the soul will not vivify with life from above until God has drawn nigh.” Olshausen.1 Corinthians 8:3. Τὸν Θεὸν, God) The love of our neighbour follows the love of God.—οὗτος, this same) who loves.—ἔγνωσται) is known. Active follows passive knowledge, 1 Corinthians 13:12. In this expression we have an admirable metalepsis[64]—he was known, and therefore he hath known, Galatians 4:9, note. The knowledge is mutual.—ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ) by Him.

[64] See Append. A twofold trope, or figurative use of the same word or phrase.Verse 3. - If any man love God, the same is known of him. We should have expected the sentence to end "the same knows him." St. Paul purposely alters the symmetry of the phrase. He did not wish to use any terms which would foster the already overgrown conceit of knowledge which was inflating the minds of his Corinthian converts. Further than this, he felt that "God knoweth them that are his" (2 Timothy 3:19), but that, since we are finite and God is infinite, we cannot measure the arm of God by the finger of man. Hence, although it is quite true that "Every one that loveth is begotten of God and knoweth God" (1 John 4:7), yet in writing to those whose love was very imperfect, St. Paul deliberately chooses the passive form of expression as in Galatians 4:9, "Now that ye have known God or are rather known of God." The same is known of Him (οὗτος ἔγνωσται ὑπ' αὐτοῦ)

The same, i.e., this same man who loves God. He does not say knows God, but implies this in the larger truth, is known by God. Compare Galatians 4:9; 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:19. Γινώσκω in New-Testament Greek often denotes a personal relation between the knower and the known, so that the knowledge of an object implies the influence of that object upon the knower. So John 2:24, John 2:25; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 John 4:8. In John the relation itself is expressed by the verb. John 17:3, John 17:25; 1 John 5:20; 1 John 4:6; 1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:4, 1 John 2:5.

An idol is nothing in the world (οὐδὲν εἴδωλον ἐν κόσμῳ)

Rev., no idol is anything. An idol is a nonentity. The emphasis is on the nothingness of the idol, hence the emphatic position of οὐδὲν nothing. It is a mere stock or stone, having no real significance in heaven or on earth. One of the Old Testament names for heathen gods is elilim nothings. Idol (εἴδωλον) is primarily an image or likeness. In Greek writers it is sometimes used of the shades of the dead, or the fantasies of the mind. In the Old Testament, the number and variety of the words representing the objects of heathen worship, are a striking commentary upon the general prevalence of idolatry. Εἴδωλον image stands in the Septuagint for several of the different Hebrew terms for idols; as, elilim things of nought; gillulim things rolled about, as logs or masses of stone; chammanium sun-pillars, etc. Other words are also used to translate the same Hebrew terms, but in all cases the idea is that of the material object as shaped by mechanical processes, or as being in itself an object of terror, or a vain or abominable thing, a mere device of man.

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