|Barnes' Notes on the Bible|
And if any think ... - The connection and the scope of this passage require us to understand this as designed to condemn that vain conceit of knowledge, or self-confidence, which would lead us to despise others, or to disregard their interests. "If anyone is conceited of his knowledge, is so vain, and proud, and self-confident, that he is led to despise others, and to disregard their true interests, he has not yet learned the very first elements of true knowledge as he ought to learn them, True knowledge will make us humble, modest, and kind to others. It will not puff us up, and it will not lead us to overlook the real happiness of others." See Romans 11:25.
Any thing - Any matter pertaining to science, morals, philosophy, or religion. This is a general maxim pertaining to all pretenders to knowledge.
He knoweth nothing yet ... - He has not known what is most necessary to be known on the subject; nor has he known the true use and design of knowledge, which is to edify and promote the happiness of others. If a man has not so learned anything as to make it contribute to the happiness of others, it is a proof that he has never learned the true design of the first elements of knowledge. Paul's design is to induce them to seek the welfare of their brethren. Knowledge, rightly applied, will promote the happiness of all. And it is true now as it was then, that if a man is a miser in knowledge as in wealth; if he lives to accumulate, never to impart; if he is filled with a vain conceit of his wisdom, and seeks not to benefit others by enlightening their ignorance, and guiding them in the way of truth, he has never learned the true use of science, any more than the man has of wealth who always hoards, never gives. It is valueless unless it is diffused, as the light of heaven would be valueless unless diffused all over the world, and the waters would be valueless if always preserved in lakes and reservoirs, and never diffused over hills and vales to refresh the earth.
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
He knoweth nothing yet, etc. - The person who acts in this rash, unfeeling way, from the general knowledge which he has of the vanity of idolatry and the liberty which the Gospel affords from Jewish rites, with all his knowledge does not know this, that though the first and greatest commandment says, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, etc., yet the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. He, then, that can torment his neighbour's weak or tender conscience with his food or his conduct, does not love him as himself, and therefore knows nothing as he ought to know.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if any man think that he knows anything,.... Whoever has an opinion of himself, or is conceited with his own knowledge, and fancies that he knows more than he does; which is always the case of those that are elated with their knowledge, and treat others with contempt, and have no regard to their peace and edification:
he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know; if he did, he would know this, that he ought to consult the peace, comfort, and edification of his brother; and therefore whatever knowledge he may fancy he has attained to, or whatever he may be capable of, and hereafter obtain, for the present he must be put down for a man that knows nothing as he should do; for he knows neither his duty to God nor man; if he knew the former, he would know the latter.
Vincent's Word Studies
That he knoweth anything (ἐγνωκέναι τι)
Or, literally, has come to know. See on John 2:24; see on John 3:10; see on John 17:3. Showing in what sense knowledge was used in the previous clause: fancied knowledge; knowledge of divine things without love.
Geneva Study Bible
And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
People's New Testament
8:2 If any man think that he knoweth any thing, etc. If he is inflated with a sense of knowledge, he has not got on the right track for true knowledge. Humility is essential.
8:2 If any man think he knoweth any thing - Aright, unless so far he is taught by God. He knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know - Seeing there is no true knowledge without divine love.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. And-omitted in the oldest manuscripts The absence of the connecting particle gives an emphatical sententiousness to the style, suitable to the subject. The first step to knowledge is to know our own ignorance. Without love there is only the appearance of knowledge.
knoweth-The oldest manuscripts read a Greek word implying personal experimental acquaintance, not merely knowledge of a fact, which the Greek of "we know" or are aware (1Co 8:1) means.
as he ought to know-experimentally and in the way of "love."
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
8:1-6 There is no proof of ignorance more common than conceit of knowledge. Much may be known, when nothing is known to good purpose. And those who think they know any thing, and grow vain thereon, are the least likely to make good use of their knowledge. Satan hurts some as much by tempting them to be proud of mental powers, as others, by alluring to sensuality. Knowledge which puffs up the possessor, and renders him confident, is as dangerous as self-righteous pride, though what he knows may be right. Without holy affections all human knowledge is worthless. The heathens had gods of higher and lower degree; gods many, and lords many; so called, but not such in truth. Christians know better. One God made all, and has power over all. The one God, even the Father, signifies the Godhead as the sole object of all religious worship; and the Lord Jesus Christ denotes the person of Emmanuel, God manifest in the flesh, One with the Father, and with us; the appointed Mediator, and Lord of all; through whom we come to the Father, and through whom the Father sends all blessings to us, by the influence and working of the Holy Spirit. While we refuse all worship to the many who are called gods and lords, and to saints and angels, let us try whether we really come to God by faith in Christ.
Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary
The apostle, in this chapter, answers another case proposed to him by some of the Corinthians, about eating those things that had been sacrificed to idols. I. He hints at the occasion of this case, and gives a caution against too high an esteem of their knowledge (v. 1-3). II. He asserts the vanity of idols, the unity of the Godhead, and the sole mediation of Christ between God and man (v. 4-6). III. He tells them that upon supposition that it were lawful in itself to eat of things offered to idols (for that they themselves are nothing), yet regard must be had to the weakness of Christian brethren, and nothing done that would lay a stumbling block before them, and occasion their sin and destruction (v. 7 to the end).
The apostle comes here to the case of things that had been offered to idols, concerning which some of them sought satisfaction: a case that frequently occurred in that age of Christianity, when the church of Christ was among the heathen, and the Israel of God must live among the Canaanites. For the better understanding of it, it must be observed that it was a custom among the heathens to make feasts on their sacrifices, and not only to eat themselves, but invite their friends to partake with them. These were usually kept in the temple, where the sacrifice was offered (v. 10), and, if any thing was left when the feast ended, it was usual to carry away a portion to their friends; what remained, after all, belonged to the priests, who sometimes sold it in the markets. See ch. 10:25. Nay, feasts, as Athenaeus informs us, were always accounted, among the heathen, sacred and religious things, so that they were wont to sacrifice before all their feasts; and it was accounted a very profane thing among them, athyta esthiein, to eat at their private tables any meat whereof they had not first sacrificed on such occasions. In this circumstance of things, while Christians lived among idolaters, had many relations and friends that were such, with whom they must keep up acquaintance and maintain good neighbourhood, and therefore have occasion to eat at their tables, what should they do if any thing that had been sacrificed should be set before them? What, if they should be invited to feast with them in their temples? It seems as if some of the Corinthians had imbibed an opinion that even this might be done, because they knew an idol was nothing in the world, v. 4. The apostle seems to answer more directly to the case (ch. 10), and here to argue, upon supposition of their being right in this thought, against their abuse of their liberty to the prejudice of others; but he plainly condemns such liberty in ch. 10. The apostle introduces his discourse with some remarks about knowledge that seem to carry in them a censure of such pretences to knowledge as I have mentioned: We know, says the apostle, that we all have knowledge (v. 1); as if he had said, "You who take such liberty are not the only knowing persons; we who abstain know as much as you of the vanity of idols, and that they are nothing; but we know too that the liberty you take is very culpable, and that even lawful liberty must be used with charity and not to the prejudice of weaker brethren." Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth, v. 1. Note, 1. The preference of charity to conceited knowledge. That is best which is fitted to do the greatest good. Knowledge, or at least a high conceit of it, is very apt to swell the mind, to fill it with wind, and so puff it up. This tends to no good to ourselves, but in many instances is much to the hurt of others. But true love, and tender regard to our brethren, will put us upon consulting their interest, and acting as may be for their edification. Observe, 2. That there is no evidence of ignorance more common than a conceit of knowledge: If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. He that knows most best understands his own ignorance, and the imperfection of human knowledge. He that imagines himself a knowing man, and is vain and conceited on this imagination, has reason to suspect that he knows nothing aright, nothing as he ought to know it. Note, It is one thing to know truth, and another to know it as we ought, so as duly to improve our knowledge. Much may be known when nothing is known to any good purpose, when neither ourselves nor others are the better for our knowledge. And those who think they know any thing, and grow fain hereupon, are of all men most likely to make no good use of their knowledge; neither themselves nor others are likely to be benefited by it. But, adds the apostle, if any man love God, the same is known of God. If any man love God, and is thereby influenced to love his neighbour, the same is known of God; that is, as some understand it, is made by him to know, is taught of God. Note, Those that love God are most likely to be taught of God, and be made by him to know as they ought. Some understand it thus: He shall be approved of God; he will accept him and have pleasure in him. Note, The charitable person is most likely to have God's favour. Those who love God, and for his sake love their brethren and seek their welfare, are likely to be beloved of God; and how much better is it to be approved of God than to have a vain opinion of ourselves!