“And though I … understand all mysteries, and all knowledge … and have not charity, I am nothing.”
(1 Corinthians 13:2/KJV).
Now I am going to write something about knowledge. Whoever knows many things has certain advantages. Rather than being mystified or bewildered a knowledgeable person is more likely to cope with various kinds of problems. If you can employ some sound knowledge you perhaps will find solutions to challenges you are facing.
More than thirty years ago upon finishing German high school I heard a talk about knowledge. The headmaster of my school was speaking about how human knowledge was going to develop. In fact in the field of science, electronics etc. there have been many discoveries and inventions since that day.
Just think of the world of computers. In those days we knew there was one computer at our school. Some teachers had private computers. I wonder if contemporary high school students could really imagine that there was an age when education was short of so many possibilities that computer technology nowadays does entail.
You may know many things but it is equally true that you are ignorant of so many other things. In the academic and in the professional world many people focus on very specific fields. They understand their field of knowledge far better than anybody else. Yet they need to put all their strength into it.
I might carry on for a while pondering about knowledge and how it affects us. Yet I need to mention some sombre and serious fact too:
Knowledge in itself may be neutral. In many cases you may have to take a moral decision as to what to make of your knowledge.
Just think of some great inventions. Dynamite or nuclear energy both could be used to do great harm to humankind. May be the civil world could benefit of both. (Actually as for nuclear energy some will emphasise even the dangers of its peaceful use.)
Psychology perhaps is another example. Some good knowledge of its findings may facilitate efforts in helping people with specific needs. On the other hand big companies will also draw on knowledge about the human soul in order to advertise their products and to achieve good sales.
Knowledge in itself does not necessarily make you a good person. If you want to do good, you may be able to do so as you employ what you know. On the other hand people might use their knowledge to manipulate or even harm others.
St. Paul here says, you may know many things, but this is not what really counts. It is your intention and your motivation that matters.
The word “charity” in the King James Version may be out of common use. Yet it tells us that love should extend not only to close friends. The word makes us think of people in need. It calls for an attitude of well-meaning and benevolence towards others