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B. Offerings to Idols*
Knowledge Insufficient.
1Now in regard to meat sacrificed to idols:#Meat sacrificed to idols: much of the food consumed in the city could have passed through pagan religious ceremonies before finding its way into markets and homes. “All of us have knowledge”: a slogan, similar to 1 Cor 6:12, which reveals the self-image of the Corinthians. 1 Cor 8:4 will specify the content of this knowledge. we realize that “all of us have knowledge”; knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up.#a. [8:1] Rom 15:14 / 13:1–13; Rom 14:15, 19. 2If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But if one loves God, one is known by him.#b. [8:3] Rom 8:29; Gal 4:9;
4So about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols: we know that “there is no idol in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.”#c. [8:4] 10:19; Dt 6:4. 5Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth (there are, to be sure, many “gods” and many “lords”), 6#This verse rephrases the monotheistic confession of v 4 in such a way as to contrast it with polytheism (1 Cor 8:5) and to express our relationship with the one God in concrete, i.e., in personal and Christian terms. And for whom we exist: since the Greek contains no verb here and the action intended must be inferred from the preposition eis, another translation is equally possible: “toward whom we return.” Through whom all things: the earliest reference in the New Testament to Jesus’ role in creation. yet for us there is
one God, the Father,
from whom all things are and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things are and through whom we exist.#d. [8:6] Mal 2:10 / Rom 11:36; Eph 4:5–6 / 1:2–3 / Jn 1:3; Col 1:16.
Practical Rules.
7But not all have this knowledge. There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.#e. [8:7] 10:28; Rom 14:23 / Rom 14:1; 15:1.
8#Although the food in itself is morally neutral, extrinsic circumstances may make the eating of it harmful. A stumbling block: the image is that of tripping or causing someone to fall (cf. 1 Cor 8:13; 9:12; 10:12, 32; 2 Cor 6:3; Rom 14:13, 20–1). This is a basic moral imperative for Paul, a counterpart to the positive imperative to “build one another up”; compare the expression “giving offense” as opposed to “pleasing” in 1 Cor 10:32–33. Now food will not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do.#f. [8:8] Rom 14:17. 9But make sure that this liberty of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak.#g. [8:9] Rom 14:13, 20–21. 10If someone sees you, with your knowledge, reclining at table in the temple of an idol, may not his conscience too, weak as it is, be “built up” to eat the meat sacrificed to idols? 11Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died.#h. [8:11] Rom 14:15, 20. 12When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ. 13#His own course is clear: he will avoid any action that might harm another Christian. This statement prepares for the paradigmatic development in 1 Cor 9. #i. [8:13] Mt 18:6; Rom 14:20–21. Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin.
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