Now about food sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge [concerning this]. Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom]. If anyone imagines that he knows and understands anything [of divine matters, without love], he has not yet known as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].
In this matter, then, of eating food offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world [it has no real existence], and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, who is the source of all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things [that have been created], and we [believers exist and have life and have been redeemed] through Him.
However, not all [believers] have this knowledge. But some, being accustomed [throughout their lives] to [thinking of] the idol until now [as real and living], still eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and because their conscience is weak, it is defiled (guilty, ashamed). Now food will not commend us to God nor bring us close to Him; we are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better if we do eat. Only be careful that this liberty of yours [this power to choose] does not somehow become a stumbling block [that is, a temptation to sin] to the weak [in conscience]. For if someone sees you, a person having knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, then if he is weak, will he not be encouraged to eat things sacrificed to idols [and violate his own convictions]? For through your knowledge (spiritual maturity) this weak man is ruined [that is, he suffers in his spiritual life], the brother for whom Christ died. And when you sin against the brothers and sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience [by confusing them], you sin against Christ. Therefore, if [my eating a certain] food causes my brother to stumble (sin), I will not eat [such] meat ever again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.