Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
1 Corinthians 8:1b
The story is told of the time when a venerable Bible scholar met a young seminary student. When the old scholar asked the young student how his study of Scripture was progressing, the student replied, “Oh, I don’t spend any time studying. I trust that when I get in the pulpit God will fill my mouth with the words I should say.” The old scholar replied, “He will fill your mouth alright. He’ll fill it with the east wind!” Because of his lack of study, the young man didn’t catch the scholar’s point. In Scripture, the “east wind” referred to the furnace-like winds that blew in from the desert and withered all it touched (Genesis 41:6).
Perhaps the young student was trying to avoid the pride to which knowledge can lead. All knowledge? Of course not—Scripture presents gaining knowledge as a desirable goal (Proverbs 1:4; John 8:32). But knowledge, if displayed and used arrogantly, can certainly lead to pride. But on the heels of that warning, Paul provides an alternative: “love edifies”—edify meaning to build up, to strengthen. Pride destroys, love edifies.
Use your knowledge—whatever the subject or situation—as a means to love, encourage, and build up others.
Conceit is what makes a little squirt think he is a fountain of knowledge.