The nose knows

Paul describes knowledge as a scent. God “uses us to spread abroad the fragrance of the knowledge of himself,” he says. (2 Cor. 2:14, REB) I understand that the sense of smell brings back memory and emotion more viscerally than does any other sense. I remember smelling my grandmother’s apartment in some strange place six years after she had died. It was as if she were in the same room with me.

Who else might an acquaintance of mine experience while with me? If I have knowledge like a scent, the possibilities are endless, I suppose. Paul goes on: to those on the way to salvation he and his pals are “a deadly fume,” but to those on their way to destruction they become a life-giving fragrance.

Paul understood the kind of religious knowledge I focused on for years. It’s a cheap substitute for knowledge like a scent. “’Knowledge’ inflates a man, whereas love builds him up. If anyone fancies that he has some kind of knowledge, he does not know in the true sense of knowing.”

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Categorized as Devotional

By Peter

After stints as a trial lawyer and a church worker, Peter Stephens has settled in as a Virginia high school English teacher. Peter has read several books and poems. He wrote none of the posts below filed under "Passages." Click the link at the end of each post to see it in the context of the author's original post.