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Meat Offered to Idols

Now when it comes to meat offered to idols, we know that ‘We all have knowledge’. Knowledge puffs you up, but love builds you up! If anybody thinks they ‘know’ something, they don’t yet ‘know’ in the way they ought to know. But if anybody loves God, they are ‘known’ – by him.

So when it comes to food that has been offered to idols, we know that ‘idols are nothing in the world’, and that ‘there is no God but one’. Yes, indeed: there may be many so-called ‘gods’, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’. But for us

There is one God, the father,
from whom are all things, and we live to him and for him;
and one Lord, Jesus the Messiah,
through whom are all things, and we live through him.

Respecting Weak Consciences

The problem is that not everybody has this ‘knowledge’. Some have been accustomed up to now to eating idol-food with the assumption that it really does belong to the idol. This has left them with a weak conscience, and now that conscience will be polluted. But the food we eat won’t recommend us to God. We won’t be any worse off if we don’t eat, and we won’t be any better off if we do.

But you must take care in case this official right of yours becomes a danger to the weak. 10 Look at it like this: if someone with a weak conscience sees you, a person with ‘knowledge’, sitting down to eat in an idol-house, that conscience of theirs is likely to make up its mind actually to eat idol-food, isn’t it? 11 And so, you see, the weak person – a brother or sister for whom the Messiah died! – is then destroyed by your ‘knowledge’. 12 That means you’ll be sinning against your brother or sister, and attacking their weak conscience; and in doing this you’ll be sinning against the Messiah. 13 So, for this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to stumble, I will never ever eat meat, so that I won’t make my brother or sister trip up.

Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols

Now about food sacrificed to idols:(A) We know that “We all possess knowledge.”(B) But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something(C) do not yet know as they ought to know.(D) But whoever loves God is known by God.[a](E)

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:(F) We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world”(G) and that “There is no God but one.”(H) For even if there are so-called gods,(I) whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God,(J) the Father,(K) from whom all things came(L) and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord,(M) Jesus Christ, through whom all things came(N) and through whom we live.

But not everyone possesses this knowledge.(O) Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak,(P) it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God;(Q) we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block(R) to the weak.(S) 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?(T) 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed(U) by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them(V) in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.(W) 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.(X)

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 8:3 An early manuscript and another ancient witness think they have knowledge do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves truly knows.