Ambassador of Reconciliation
5/22/14 at 11:48 PM 12 Comments

"Nobody cares how much you know...

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…until they know how much you care.”1 This statement appeared in the commentary for our Bible study lesson on 2 Peter 1. Peter is coming to the end of his life, and he wants to transmit to his readers as much knowledge as he can. But he understands that knowledge alone is not what really counts. What really matters is that lives be transformed—Peter’s life and the lives of his readers. Peter wants his readers to see how much God has transformed him and how much he cares about them, so that they will be receptive to his message and in turn will be open to allowing God to transform them.

Do you have knowledge that you want to impart? Whether you are a parent, a pastor, a teacher, a boss, a blog writer, a commenter, or a friend, you have knowledge that you want to communicate to others. If you want them to receive it, let them know how much you care about them. You may be intellectually brilliant or theologically astute, but if you come across as arrogant, callous, or uncaring, your words will fall on deaf ears.

Paul was brilliant, but he was not out to impress anyone with his superior knowledge. He longed for people to know Christ, and he understood that he had to show them how much he cared about them. In his letters he often expressed his love for his readers and assured them that he was praying for them:

God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:8).

Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers (Eph. 1:15-16).

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well (1 Th. 2:7-8).

Paul knew that “knowledge puffs up while love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1). Even if one “can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,” without love he is nothing:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Cor. 13).

Do these words describe the love you have for those you are ministering to? If so, then they will be more likely to receive the knowledge you are imparting and to take to heart what you share with them.

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1Community Bible Study Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter, page 112

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