1 Corinthians 8:1-9

1 Corinthians 8:1-3-8-9 The Message (MSG)

The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not? We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all. Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence, that there’s nothing to them, that there is no God other than our one God, that no matter how many of these so-called gods are named and worshiped they still don’t add up to anything but a tall story. They say—again, quite rightly—that there is only one God the Father, that everything comes from him, and that he wants us to live for him. Also, they say that there is only one Master—Jesus the Messiah—and that everything is for his sake, including us. Yes. It’s true. In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol. It’s just like any other meat. I know that, and you know that. But knowing isn’t everything. If it becomes everything, some people end up as know-it-alls who treat others as know-nothings. Real knowledge isn’t that insensitive. We need to be sensitive to the fact that we’re not all at the same level of understanding in this. Some of you have spent your entire lives eating “idol meat,” and are sure that there’s something bad in the meat that then becomes something bad inside of you. An imagination and conscience shaped under those conditions isn’t going to change overnight. But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet. We’re neither commended when we clean our plate nor reprimanded when we just can’t stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track.

1 Corinthians 8:1-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

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].