1 Cor 8:1-2
8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; NASB
There was a serious problem in the church at Corinth, which festered (blistered, surfaced) in the question, Is it wrong to eat meats offered to idols? The question can be dealt with separately, but what is really important is identifying the infection that caused the blister. This infection is in many churches today and needs to be inoculated.
There are two methods of attaining knowledge, experience and communication. If I touch a hot dish of food and feel the heat, then I have acquired knowledge by experience. If I tell you to be careful because the dish is hot, then you have knowledge that is transferred by communication. How hot is it? I have a more clear understanding because I experienced it first hand. Your mental concept is relative because you did not experience it yourself. Knowledge is a mental perception (seeing with the minds eye), a conceptualization, a mental picture interpreted by relative previous experience. In other words, the more that we experience, the more we are able to understand as we interpret new experiences.
Here in lies the problem. Knowledge is relative. If I have experienced the heat of the dish and you have not, then I may view my knowledge as superior to yours. I may become inflated (puffed up) in my estimation of the value of my knowledge as compared with yours. This egotistic mindset does not benefit anyone but usually causes arguments and hurt feelings. A person, who has studied relative, or transferable knowledge, and has had many experiences in life, may believe that he is very knowledgeable, and therefore valuable. He may compare himself with his peers and think that he has great understanding. However, compared to what God knows, this man knows nothing! 2 Cor 10:12 but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. [NASB] What we should come to understand as we gain knowledge is that we are finite and miniscule, and that there is far more knowledge to be known than we will ever comprehend. The more of Gods infinite knowledge that we perceive, the more we should see that we know nothing!
Love, establishing a value upon people such that we endeavor to protect and preserve them, is what builds up, establishes, and edifies the body of Christ. We must be careful that we do not allow our knowledge to cause us to think of ourselves more highly than we should. It is love, esteeming or valuing others as more important than ourselves, which causes the Body of Christ to grow.
Father of infinite knowledge and wisdom, remove from us the pride and arrogance that comes with self-esteem and introspection. Cause us to look beyond the mirror and see that compared with you we are nothing. Make us humble, seeing ourselves in the way that you see us. May we esteem ourselves by your value system and not by comparing ourselves with others. Teach us to use our knowledge in love to edify and build up our valuable brothers and sisters, and not in prideful displays. Inoculate and eradicate from our midst the self-exalting infection called pride. Infuse in us your love for the brethren.