1 Corinthians 13:9-10
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.…
Knowledge is not always good. It profited our first parents little. God knew this then and He knows it now. Consider —
I. THE ASSUMPTION MADE — "Now we know." It is knowledge that makes man better than the brute, that makes him like God, that develops his power, that is his salvation. We know, indeed, and therefore stand out before the heathen, the Jews, the early Christians. We have privileges which are peculiarly our own, and which none have ever enjoyed before.
II. THE LIMITATION ENFORCED. "We know in part." Of all things finite, human knowledge is the most limited. It is limited —
1. In its range.
2. In power.
III. THE SIGNIFICANCE IMPLIED. This state of limited human knowledge has its purpose.
1. It places us in our own proper position. We are tempted to make our own knowledge an absolute standard. We fix rules for morality, doctrine; we organise parties and call them perfect, because we imagine our knowledge is perfect; but the authors can only see in part. It requires a serious effort to understand that others have the power of seeing what we cannot see.
2. It alters the whole tone of our spiritual life on earth. It should
(1) Remove fear, for what appears to us to be dark may in reality be light.
(2) Remove doubt, for we must trust.
(3) Lessen grief, for trials may be blessings in disguise.
IV. THE PRIVILEGE BESTOWED. Our present limited knowledge is to some extent a blessing.
1. It gives us something to look forward to — "Then we shall know even as we are known." All mysteries shall one day be revealed, and then all errors shall cease.
2. It prevents much sorrow. How fearful to know all that is before us!
3. It engages our thoughts on the practical rather than the theoretical. Love is the practical duty at present; for we can love even if we cannot know.
(J. J. S. Bird, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.