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1 Corinthians 8

8
Regarding meat offered to idols
1-4Now as to the question of obtaining meat which has been first sacrificed on one of the city altars (and meat is not often purchasable nowadays which has not been killed in this way). The idea of course in the minds of those who have been accustomed in the past to partake of these sacrifices is that there is some connection between the meat so sacrificed and the god to whom it has been rendered as a sacrifice. That is a very fixed idea in the minds of many, that to enter the precincts of the temples, purchase the sacrificial meat as prepared by the priests and their acolytes and take it home with you, is to subject yourself to all sorts of evil influences from the spirits, gods, devils who haunt these scenes and acts of worship. 5Now recollect our point of view — that these gods or demons, however real they may be to those that believe in them, a vast congregation indeed of gods and masters of all kinds, so called and so believed, — well, all that world of supposed beings has nothing whatever to do with us, and their images are absolutely nothing at all. 6That is our knowledge, our science — One God alone, from whom come all things, and for whom alone we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom comes the universe, the sum total of all things, inclusive of ourselves whose means of existence are found in Him alone. This divine oneness and allness is our faith, and contrariwise an idol is nothing, and a god is nothing. 7But do all possess this spiritual science? Alas! no, many there are to whom these beings, of which they were quite recently worshippers, are still somewhat of a dread reality, and to see any one of the brethren enter an idol's shrine and there purchase the meat which is sold in it, alarms the conscience of those whose faith has not yet won clear of the fear of these things. 8Now to you and me food is a small matter. Meat will not bring us any nearer to God; whether we eat it, or not, makes no difference to our condition. Our fulness, or our wants are dependent on things spiritual, not on physical food. 9But it is important that he whose faith still exists fearfully and haltingly should not be led by your example to do that which is going to have a darkening and dangerous effect upon his mind. 10For if with his weak conscience and his fears and semi-belief in the beings he has so recently rejected, he return to their shrines and take a part in their feasts, is it not likely that this will have an influence upon his mind, and work on him to his own destruction? 11And so your clearer knowledge is likely to rob him of his chance to escape, you are doing your best to make the way out more difficult for him, and so defeat the very purpose of Christ's death, which was to free our weak minds and souls and consciences from idols. 12O sooner than that, sooner than handicap him in his fight with the old falsehoods, what a small matter it would be to eat no meat again for ever! 13Yes, we all have some knowledge perhaps but remember this — knowledge by itself only tends to make us self-satisfied: it is love that builds.
8
Take Care with Your Liberty
1Now 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]. 2If anyone imagines that he knows and understands anything [of divine matters, without love], he has not yet known as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].
4In 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. 5For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, #Lit from whom are all things.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.
7However, 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 #In Paul’s viewpoint, meat sold at the market place (even if it had been used in idol worship) was permissible food because a pagan sacrifice was meaningless, and the meat itself could not be contaminated by any such ritual (cf Mark 7:19). Some who had accepted Christ worried that they were violating their new faith if they ate any meat without knowing its origin first-hand.as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and because their conscience is weak, it is defiled (guilty, ashamed). 8Now 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. 9Only 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]. 10For if someone sees you, a person having #I.e. the knowledge that no harm can come from eating the meat, since in reality the sacrifice is meaningless (see note v 7).knowledge, #Lit reclining, i.e. the position in which people dined.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]? 11For through your knowledge (spiritual maturity) this weak man is ruined [that is, he suffers in his spiritual life], the brother for whom Christ died. 12And when you sin against the brothers and sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience [by confusing them], you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, 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.