Knowledge Without Love
1 Corinthians 13:2
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith…

There is a well-authenticated tradition of a famous argument between that great scholar and divine Bishop Horsley, and Dr. Cyril Jackson, dean of Christ Church. They sat late into the night debating the question whether God could be better reached through the exercise of the intellect, or through the exercise of the affection. Unwillingly, but step by step, the bishop, who advocated the claims of intellect, retreated before the arguments of his friend, till at length, in a spirit which did no less honour to his humility than to his candour, he exclaimed, "Then my whole life has been one great mistake." Certainly that conclusion had been already anticipated by St. Paul; and the extreme antagonist theory, whether put forward by primitive Gnostics, or by paradoxical schoolmen, or by the cold sceptics of the last ago, has never found an echo in the great heart of the human family. For men perceive that a pure intellectualism is apt to fall short even of the lower measures of duty. When it is unbalanced by a warm heart and a vigorous will, the mere cultivation of mind makes a man alternately selfish and weak. Selfish; if, for instance, to the prosecution of a private speculation or to the assertion of a private theory, the faith, the moral vigour, the broadest and highest interests of others are sacrificed or postponed. Weak; when the entire man is cultivated intellect and nothing else, neither love nor resolution; when the clearness of intellectual perception contrasts grimly with the absence of any practical effort; when mental development, instead of being the crowning grace of a noble character, is but as an unseemly and unproductive fungus, that has drained out to no purpose the life and strength of its parent soul. Instead of protecting and illustrating that Truth which really nerves the will for action, intellect has too often amused itself with pulverising all fixed convictions. It has persuaded itself that it can dispense with those high motives, without which it is itself too cold and incorporeal a thing to be of practical service in this human world. It has learnt to rejoice in its own selfish if not aimless energy; but it really has abandoned the highest work of which it was capable; it has left to an unintellectual enthusiasm, to men of much love, if of inferior mental cultivation, the task of stimulating and guiding the true progress of mankind.

(Canon Liddon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

WEB: If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing.

Intellect Without Love
Top of Page
Top of Page