Grace to You Devotionals

GTY Devotionals

August 8

Balancing Knowledge and Love

"If I . . . know all mysteries and all knowledge . . . but do not have love, I am nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2).

True knowledge is always governed by love.

Christians should never take knowledge for granted. The ability to learn of Christ and grow in His truth is a blessing beyond measure. Paul prayed that we would be "filled with the knowledge of [God's] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Col. 1:9). That's what enables us to live in a way that pleases God (v. 10).

But knowledge must be governed by love, just as love must be governed by knowledge. In Philippians 1:9 Paul says, "This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment." In 1 Corinthians 13:2 he says that knowledge without love is nothing. That's a God-ordained balance you must maintain if you want to be effective for the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 13:2 Paul uses a hypothetical illustration to emphasize the importance of love: "If I . . . know all mysteries and all knowledge . . . but do not have love, I am nothing." The Greek word translated "mysteries" in that verse is used throughout the New Testament to speak of redemptive truth that once was hidden but now revealed. For example, Scripture speaks of the mystery of God in human flesh (Col. 2:2-3), of Christ's indwelling in us (Col. 1:26-27), and of the church as Christ's Body (Eph. 3:3-6, 9).

"Knowledge" in 1 Corinthians 13:2 refers to facts that can be ascertained by investigation. It's impossible to know every mystery and every fact in existence in the universe, but even if you did, without love your knowledge would be useless. Knowledge alone breeds arrogance, but love builds others up (1 Cor. 8:1).

Maintaining a balance of knowledge and love is a practical principle that influences the decisions you make every day. For example, if you have a choice between going to a Bible class or helping a neighbor with some immediate need, the better choice is to help your neighbor. You will have other opportunities to learn the Word, but it might be some time before you have a chance to show Christian love to your neighbor.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for the wisdom to keep knowledge and love in proper balance.

For Further Study

Read Luke 10:25-37.

  • How did the lawyer try to justify himself to Jesus?
  • How did Jesus illustrate love for one's neighbor?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

August 8

Proof of Greed's Dangers

“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Timothy 6:10).

There’s no doubt that the sinful effects of loving money actually occur in some people.

It is hard to imagine a sin that has not been committed for the sake of greed. It can lead to self-indulgence, flaunting of possessions, lying, stealing, murder, distortion of justice, and abusing the poor.

Today we return to 1 Timothy 6:10 to note how the apostle Paul proves that loving money is indeed dangerous. He knew that some were actually “longing for it [money]” or reaching after it as far as they could figuratively stretch their arms and hands. That means such people would have been passionately pursuing money. Paul does not give any names, but it is reasonable to think he was referring to ones such as Demas, who was perhaps beginning to pursue worldly things even as Paul wrote this letter (see 2 Tim. 4:10).

Such people “wandered away from the faith” or departed from the body of Christian truth (see Jude 3). Like Demas, they were exposed to truth, but they eventually chose material goods and comforts in preference to God. Those apostates were in effect proving what we noted earlier this month: you can’t serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24).

Such lovers of the temporal and the material also “pierced themselves with many a pang.” The word “pierced” originally referred to running a skewer through an animal as it was placed on a spit. Those who love money more than God impale their own souls and end up experiencing much grief—a condemning conscience, an unfulfilled heart, and complete disillusionment with life (see Ps. 32:10).

So, what does all this teaching about the love of money mean for us? Simply that we must live our Christian lives pursuing God, not money and material possessions. Like David, we should desire to say, “As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake” (Ps. 17:15).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for all the resources He has blessed you with, and recommit them to His service.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 27:3-10 for more about the tragic consequences of Judas’ love for money.

  • How sympathetic were the Jewish leaders to his plight?
  • What positive things can we learn from the aftermath of this episode (see Acts 1:15-26)?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

August 8

Reading for Today:

  • Job 7:1–8:22
  • Psalm 92:8-15
  • Proverbs 22:17-21
  • Romans 9:1-15


Job 7:19 till I swallow my saliva. This strange statement was an Arabic proverb, indicating a brief moment. Job was asking for a moment “to catch his breath,” or in the case of the proverb, “swallow his saliva.”

Job 8:3 Almighty pervert justice. Bildad took Job’s claims for innocence and applied them to his simplistic notion of retribution. He concluded that Job was accusing God of injustice when God must be meting out justice to Job. Job tried to avoid outright accusations of this sort, but the evidence led Bildad to this conclusion because he had no knowledge of the heavenly facts.

Psalm 92:10 my horn…anointed with fresh oil. This figure is based on a practice of making an animal’s horns gleam by rubbing oil on them. Thus God, in effect, had invigorated the psalmist (Pss. 23:5; 133:2).

Romans 9:4 Israelites. The descendants of Abraham through Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel (Gen. 32:28). adoption. Not in the sense of providing salvation to every person born a Jew (8:15–23; 9:6), but sovereignly selecting an entire nation to receive His special calling, covenant, and blessing and to serve as His witness nation (Ex. 4:22; 19:6; Hos. 11:1; Is. 46:3, 4). glory. The glory cloud (Shekinah) that pictured God’s presence in the Old Testament (Ex. 16:10; 24:16, 17; 29:42, 43; Lev. 9:23). His glory was supremely present in the Holy of Holies in both the tabernacle and the temple, which served as the throne room of Yahweh, Israel’s King (Ex. 25:22; 40:34; 1 Kin. 8:11). covenants. A covenant is a legally binding promise, agreement, or contract. Three times in the New Testament the word “covenants” is used in the plural (Gal. 4:24; Eph. 2:12). All but one of God’s covenants with man are eternal and unilateral—that is, God promised to accomplish something based on His own character and not on the response or actions of the promised beneficiary. The 6 biblical covenants include: 1) the covenant with Noah (Gen. 9:8–17); 2) the covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3); 3) the covenant of law given through Moses at Sinai (Ex. 19–31; Deut. 29; 30); 4) the priestly covenant (Num.25:10–13); 5) the covenant of an eternal kingdom through David’s greatest Son (2 Sam. 7:8–16); and 6) the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 37:26; Heb. 8:6–13). All but the Mosaic Covenant are eternal and unilateral. It is neither, since Israel’s sin abrogated it and it has been replaced by the New Covenant (Heb. 8:7–13).

DAY 8: Describe what Job was going through?

In Job 7:1, he said, “Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth?” He felt like a slave under tyranny of his master, longing for relief and reward (vv. 1, 2); he was sleepless (v. 3, 4); he was loathsome because of worms and scabs, dried filth and new running sores (v. 5); he was like a weaver’s shuttle, tossed back and forth (v. 6); he was like a breath or cloud that comes and goes on its way to death (vv. 7–10). In this discourse, Job attempted to reconcile in his own mind what God was doing.

Job’s Living Death

1. Painful boils from head to toe (2:7,13; 30:17)

2. Severe itching/irritation (2:7,8)

3. Great grief (2:13)

4. Lost appetite (3:24; 6:6,7)

5. Agonizing discomfort (3:24)

6. Insomnia (7:4)

7. Worm- and dust-infested flesh (7:5)

8. Continual oozing of boils (7:5)

9. Hallucinations (7:14)

10. Decaying skin (13:28)

11. Shriveled up (16:8; 17:7; 19:20)

12. Severe halitosis (19:17)

13. Teeth fell out (19:20)

14. Relentless pain (30:17)

15. Skin turned black (30:30)

16. Raging fever (30:30)

17. Dramatic weight loss (33:21)

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,

August 8 - Jesus Stands Against Sin’s Effects

“And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . .’” (Matthew 9:4–6).

Because He is the Son of God, Jesus “did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25). Christ knows all about every sin, even the unseen ones (cf. 1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Chron. 28:9), and stands firmly against them. Before God punished Ananias and Sapphira for their deception, He asked them through Peter, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 5:3).

Similarly, in this situation, Jesus knew what His enemies were thinking and was ready to expose the evil behind their thoughts and the error of their logic regarding authority to forgive. Because sin and its symptoms are inseparable, Jesus would have to deal with sin or else He could not deal with the effects.

The Jewish leaders had no good reply or sound argument against Jesus and His divine capabilities. However, it was and is obvious: our Lord can deal with both sin and its consequences, and human beings can do neither. Only God can heal disease with a few words and forgive sins with another few words.

Christ’s response to His opponents here came down to the old adage, “Actions speak louder than words.” In other words, saying something that cannot be verified is always easier than doing something that can be. Jesus’ foes could not verify the paralytic’s forgiveness, but they were about to see proof of his healing, which forces any reasonable person to concede that Jesus does deal with sin and its effects.

Ask Yourself

Jesus knows our thoughts. As people redeemed from eternal punishment and freed to walk in abundant life, we need not fear this as a source of constant guilt. But how can we use this knowledge to discipline our hearts and purify our motives?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610,

Del libro La Verdad para Hoy de John MacArthur DERECHOS DE AUTOR © 2001 Utilizado con permiso de Editorial Portavoz,
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