The Bible Says, “Knowledge Puffs Up.” Does This Mean We Shouldn’t Study Too Much?

by Alisa Childers

When I decided to take the intellectual aspect of my spiritual beliefs more seriously, it left some of my Christian friends scratching their heads.
My newly acquired love of learning landed me on the receiving end of comments like, “Don’t let your head get in the way of your heart,” and “I don’t need to study because I have faith,” and “Be careful not to study too much because ‘knowledge puffs up’ (1 Corinthians 8:1).”

As well-intended as these comments may have been, they appear to reflect the anti-intellectualism that has saturated American culture and seeped over into the church. In an article aptly titled “Burning Hearts Are Not Nourished by Empty Heads,” R.C. Sproul wrote,

We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization….Secular culture has embraced a kind of impressionism that threatens to turn all our brains into mush, and the evangelical world has followed suit, developing an allergy to all things intellectual. (1)

But this hasn’t always been the case. ​​With Christians founding Ivy League universities such as Harvard and Princeton—and pioneering the scientific revolution—the  intellectual mark made by Christians on world history is incalculable…

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The Bible Says, “Knowledge Puffs Up.” Does This Mean We Shouldn’t Study Too Much?