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One Corinthians Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

1 Corinthians 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

1 Corinthians 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

1 Corinthians 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

1 Corinthians 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

that are called gods. The Gentile Christians to whom Paul was writing had, before their conversion, worshiped many “gods” in heaven and “lords” on earth. These were really personified forces of nature in their description, but the whole system was actually energized by demonic spirits. It was difficult for new Christians to free their minds from the power these demonic spirits had exerted over them, it is just as difficult today for new Christians to free their thinking of the similar evolutionary presuppositions with which they had been indoctrinated.

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

all things. In contrast to both the evolutionary pantheism of the ancient pagans and the evolutionary atheism of modern intellectuals, the testimony of both Scripture and all true science is that there is only one true God of creation, who created all things, including ourselves, by His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, all idols—whether wooden representations of the forces of nature and the evil spirits that influence them, or the philosophical constructs of modern humanists—are in reality “nothing in the world” (1 Corinthians 8:4).

1 Corinthians 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

1 Corinthians 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

1 Corinthians 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

1 Corinthians 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

1 Corinthians 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

1 Corinthians 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

while the world standeth. See Romans 14:21. Even though idols are nothing in themselves, and therefore meat sold after being offered in an idol's temple is no different from other meat, the association with a false demon-inspired religious system made it difficult for new converts from that system to have any connection with it without being influenced by it. Thus Paul admonishes more mature Christians to avoid all such associations themselves out of consideration for the consciences of these younger believers. Even though this particular problem does not face Christians today, the principle of governing our behavior in consideration of others is certainly as relevant as ever.