In the Garden of Eden, there were two trees. In the middle of the garden was the Tree of Knowledge. We know where that bite took us (Gen. 3:6).
The tree of Knowledge is easy to find. From it we get good and bad, right and wrong, white and black, and death. Knowledge brings power; without it we are destroyed (Hosea 4:6); the wise store it up (Prov 10:14); yet knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1).
Mere knowledge in and of itself is nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). Unless we apply personally and carefully to our lives each morsel of knowledge we gain, we are feeding a head-heavy and heart-empty Pharisee (Matt. 23:33). Unless we acquire knowledge to know God more intimately and to love others in increased measure (John 15:12), our knowledge is worthless. Unless we use knowledge to learn that we know nothing, we are fools (Ps. 94:11).
The other tree in the Garden, often overlooked, is the triumphant Tree of Life. Unlike the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Life is difficult to find (Matt. 7:14). From it we get Life and the only life, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
Let any knowledge we gain humble our hearts leading us to dine daily from the Tree of Life. This tree faithfully bears fruit in every season. Every pick is guaranteed ripe, nourishing and satisfying. And there is no death. Only life, life and more life…love, love and more love (John 7:38, 14:6, 1 John 4:8).
And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight or to be desired–good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil and blessing and calamity.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
Wise men store up knowledge [in mind and heart], but the mouth of the foolish is a present destruction.
1 Corinthians 8:1
NOW ABOUT food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature].
You serpents! You spawn of vipers! How can you escape the penalty to be suffered in hell (Gehenna)?
This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.
The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vain (empty and futile–only a breath).
But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.
Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.
He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.
1 John 4:8
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:2
And if I have prophetic powers ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).