1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Sensitivity toward others’ Conscience

Shifting topics, leaving relationships between Christians now focusing on sensitivity and the knowledge brought on by the Holy Spirit. In this section of his letter to the believers in Corinth, the apostle declares food given to idols “clean” and “good to eat” but calls on those made aware of this, to be conscious of those who did not understand the reasoning.

1 Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” (1 Corinthians 8:1)

As with most Greek cities Corinth had temples and idols to which sacrifices were made, often animals whose flesh would later be eaten. Paul uses a popular Corinthian slogan used by arrogant members of the Corinthian church to ridicule weaker Christians, to illustrate the power behind the law of Christ which is love.

2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:2-3)

An old saying repeated by Paul, those who think they know often lack wisdom and humility. True knowledge comes from loving God and His only begotten son Jesus Christ.

4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)

Paul describes idols, false earthly gods and lords as numerous in the world. The apostle affirms there is only one divine God, one true Lord which is Jesus Christ. Sacrifices made to idols or false gods should be treated as a gift from God almighty to be used to glorify and honor Him. If eatable, it should be consumed with thanksgiving.

7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.” (1 Corinthians 8:7)

Paul now instructs those with the knowledge about food given to idols, that it was indeed good to eat, to refrain from doing so when such actions could be regarded as offensive by new believers. Since immature Christians’ conscience might not yet be blessed with the knowledge about idols, Paul calls on mature Christians to love their brothers and not provoke them.

8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. 9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:8-9)

Here Paul cites that faith is not strengthened through food but can be weakened by it since those who had acquired the knowledge about food given to idols did not necessarily know how to conduct themselves in the company of weaker believers. It would therefore be of greater importance for those with the knowledge to refrain from eating such foods so not to offend those whose beliefs prohibited such actions until they too would be blessed with this knowledge.

10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” (1 Corinthians 8:10-11)

Because weaker Christians would likely be influenced to eat the food as well, which might cause them to sin according to their own custom, Paul calls on mature believers to resist the urge to eat food offered to idols.

12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:12-13)

Paul reinforces his point aimed at mature Christians, that they should refrain from eating meat if it causes another believer to stumble, or to commit sin in their current transitional mind set.

The teaching in this section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians applies to various areas of life itself. Calling on mature believers to abide by the law of Christ which commands us to love our neighbors, Christians should look out for each other as we strive to advance the gospel and spread the good news about the coming of the Lord. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.