What's Love?

by Fred Alcain on November 10, 2023


But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1



If there’s one word that seems to be thrown around recklessly these days it’s the word LOVE. After addressing questions about marriage and relationships, Paul now turns the attention to meat and sacrifice.  Now that’s a 180!  But he zeroes in on the method and principle of the meat and sacrifice and gives a timely reminder on the difference between knowledge and love.  Knowledge being the method but love being the principle. 


There are so many cute sayings and axioms when it comes to love.  Hallmark has made millions upon millions with their clever and poetic greeting cards, and songwriters have had field days writing songs about love.  And while all is meant and intended to inspire feelings of joy and happiness, what Paul writes here is an accurate and timely description of love for us to arise to and apply as we love God and love people.

One of my favorite commentaries on Paul’s address says it this way, “Both knowledge and love have an effect on our lives in that each of them make something grown.  The difference between puffs up and edifies is striking; it is the difference between a bubble and a building.  Some Christians grow, others just swell.” 

How do I ensure I’m not just swelling, but growing in love and knowledge?  I can start by clearly defining what love is.

Love encourages.  Yes, our love for other’s needs to be one that offers new hope; one that platforms and promises that God so loved the world, all of us, saint and sinner.  When we love others, we represent the heart of the Father, receiving everyone unconditionally.

Love disciplines.  But we don’t love blindly.  We love with a knowledge rooted in the Word of God, discerning when discipline is required.  While I unconditionally love my children, I love them too much to let disobedience go without discipline.  Not for punishment sake, but for the sake of a true and Christ-like love.

Love is Jesus.  Christ offers the perfect example of love.  While only Jesus is perfect, we can pursue aligning to His love as we love Him and others.



Jesus, may love abound more and more in Your wisdom and Your knowledge.  Unconditional, but also uncompromising as we align to Your Word and act in Your will.


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