1 Corinthians 8:4-13

1 Corinthians 8:4-6-11-13 The Message (MSG)

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. For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong. Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals if there’s any chance it will trip up one of your brothers or sisters. * * *

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God. There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But for us, There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live. However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 New Century Version (NCV)

So this is what I say about eating meat sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is really nothing in the world, and we know there is only one God. Even though there are things called gods, in heaven or on earth (and there are many “gods” and “lords”), for us there is only one God—our Father. All things came from him, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord—Jesus Christ. All things were made through him, and we also were made through him. But not all people know this. Some people are still so used to idols that when they eat meat, they still think of it as being sacrificed to an idol. Because their conscience is weak, when they eat it, they feel guilty. But food will not bring us closer to God. Refusing to eat does not make us less pleasing to God, and eating does not make us better in God’s sight. But be careful that your freedom does not cause those who are weak in faith to fall into sin. Suppose one of you who has knowledge eats in an idol’s temple. Someone who is weak in faith might see you eating there and be encouraged to eat meat sacrificed to idols while thinking it is wrong to do so. This weak believer for whom Christ died is ruined because of your “knowledge.” When you sin against your brothers and sisters in Christ like this and cause them to do what they feel is wrong, you are also sinning against Christ. So if the food I eat causes them to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again so that I will not cause any of them to sin.

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 Amplified Bible (AMP)

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.

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Concerning food sacrificed as offerings to idols, we all know that an idol is nothing, for there is no God but one. Although there may be many so-called gods in this world, and in heaven there may be many “gods,” “lords,” and “masters,” yet for us there is only one God—the Father. Out of him is all things, and our lives are lived for him. And there is one Lord, Jesus, the Anointed One, through whom we and all things exist. But not everyone has this revelation. For some were formerly idolaters, who consider idols as real and living. That’s why they consider the food offered to that “god” as defiled. And their weak consciences become defiled if they eat it. Yes, we know that what you eat will not bring you closer to God. You are no better if you don’t eat certain foods and no better if you do. But you must be careful that the liberty you exercise in eating food offered to idols doesn’t offend the weak believers. For if a believer with a weak conscience sees you, who have a greater understanding, dining in an idol’s temple, won’t this be a temptation to him to violate his own conscience and eat food offered to idols? So, in effect, by exercising your understanding of freedom, you have ruined this weak believer, a brother for whom Christ has died! And when you offend weaker believers by wounding their consciences in this way, you also offend the Anointed One! So I conclude that if my eating certain food deeply offends my brother and hinders his advance in Christ, I will never eat it again. I don’t want to be guilty of causing my brother or sister to be wounded and defeated.

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