1 Corinthians 8:1-13

This a very short chapter, please take the time to read through.

I want to take up with V4. Paul is made aware that some of the followers in the church at Corinth are struggling with the meat from animals that was used in the offerings at the temples. It was the custom that some of the meat be served to priest and some was sold in the market. Paul states that to some there are many gods but to the believers, just the One true God. However, he says, not everyone believes this. Some think these idols are real, so when they make their offerings, they believe they are worshiping a true god.

So, was it ok for a follower of Christ to purchase and consume the meat from the idol temples? Yes, No, Maybe, Why and Why not?  See Paul’s dilemma.  In V8 he says we can’t really win God’s approval by what we eat, but we don’t lose any this if we don’t.

V9 is what I call Paul’s “punch line”, But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. Paul wanted to make sure the more “mature” in Christ did not use their faith to create a stumbling block for the weaker or newer brother.

Today we are not dealing much with dietary issues in the church or pagan worship but we still have newer followers and people of different convictions. It may be in the way a person expresses themselves in worship, observing a holiday or fasting. I once heard someone discussing the observation of lent and remarked that they were free from such religious rituals. One the other hand, another Christian might believe they are now free in Christ to worship by fasting. We as Christians must learn to be sensitive to our brothers and sisters so our freedom does not offend. Remember that each of us can be at a different place in our journey and as Paul said, we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in us for His good.

I sometimes think Paul should have ended this letter with the verses 1-3, but I’m not Paul. So, for our study today: Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that we have all knowledge about the issue. But while knowledge make us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone that claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know a lot. But the person that loves God is the one whom God recognizes. Let’s spend our time strengthening the church!                      —- Bill Burgan

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