1 From this place unto the end of the tenth Chapter, he willeth them not to be at the Gentiles’ profane banquets. 13 He restraineth the abuse of Christian liberty, 11 and showeth that knowledge must be tempered with charity.

And as [a]touching things sacrificed unto idols, we know that we [b]all have knowledge: knowledge [c]puffeth up, but love [d]edifieth.

Now, if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing, yet as he ought to know.

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

[e]Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed unto [f]idols, we know that an idol is [g]nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven, or in earth (as there be many gods, and many lords.)

Yet unto us there is but one God, which is that Father, [h]of whom are all things, and we [i]in him, and (A)[j]one Lord Jesus Christ, [k]by whom are all things, and we by him.

[l]But every man hath not that knowledge: for [m]many having [n]conscience of the idol, until this hour, eat as a thing sacrificed unto the idol, and so their conscience being weak, is defiled.

[o]But meat maketh us not acceptable to God, for neither if we eat, have we the more: neither if we eat not, have we the less.

But take heed lest by any means this power of yours be an occasion of falling, to them that are weak.

10 [p]For if any man see thee which hast knowledge, sit at table in the idols’ temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak, be boldened, to eat those things which are sacrificed to idols?

11 [q]And through thy knowledge shall the (B)weak brother perish, for whom Christ died.

12 [r]Now when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 (C)[s]Wherefore if meat offend my brother, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, that I may not offend my brother.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 8:1 He entereth to entreat of another kind of things indifferent, to wit, of things offered to idols, or the use or flesh so offered and sacrificed. And first of all he removeth all those things which the Corinthians pretended in using things offered to idols without any respect. First of all they affirmed that this difference of meats was for unskillful men, but as for them, they knew well enough the benefit of Christ, which causeth all these things to be clean to them that are clean. Be it so saith Paul: be it that we are all sufficiently instructed in the knowledge of Christ. I say notwithstanding that we must not simply rest in this knowledge. The reason is that unless our knowledge be tempered with charity, it doth not only not avail, but also doeth much hurt, because it is the mystery of pride: nay, it doth not so much as discern the name of godly knowledge, if it be separate from the love of God and therefore from the love of our neighbor.
  2. 1 Corinthians 8:1 This general word is to be abridged as appeareth verse 7, for there is a kind of taunt in it, as we may perceive by the next verse.
  3. 1 Corinthians 8:1 Ministereth occasion of vanity and pride, because it is void of charity.
  4. 1 Corinthians 8:1 Instructed our neighbor.
  5. 1 Corinthians 8:4 The application of that answer to things offered to idols: I grant, saith he that an idol is indeed a vain imagination, and that there is but one God and Lord, herefore that meat cannot be made holy or profane by the idol: but it followeth not therefore that a man may without respect use those meats as any other.
  6. 1 Corinthians 8:4 This word (idol) in this place is taken for an image which is made to present some godhead, that worship might be given unto it: whereupon came the word (idolatry) that is to say, Image service.
  7. 1 Corinthians 8:4 It is a vain dream.
  8. 1 Corinthians 8:6 When the Father is distinguished from the Son, He is named the beginning of all things.
  9. 1 Corinthians 8:6 We have our being in him.
  10. 1 Corinthians 8:6 But as the Father is called Lord, so is the Son, God therefore this word (One) doth not respect the persons, but the natures.
  11. 1 Corinthians 8:6 This word (By) doth not signify the instrumental cause, but the efficient: For the Father and the Son work together, which is not so to be taken, that we make two causes, seeing they have both but one nature though they be distinct persons.
  12. 1 Corinthians 8:7 The reason why that followeth not, is this: because there are many men which do not know that which you know. Now the judgments of outward things depend not only upon your conscience, but upon the conscience of them that behold you, and therefore your actions must be applied not only to your knowledge, but also to the ignorance of your brethren.
  13. 1 Corinthians 8:7 An applying of the reason, There are many which cannot eat of things offered to idols, but with a wavering conscience, because they think them to be unclean: therefore if by thy example they enterprise to do that which inwardly they thinketh displeaseth God, their conscience is defiled with this eating, and thou hast been the occasion of this mischief.
  14. 1 Corinthians 8:7 By conscience of the idol, he meaneth the secret judgment that they had within themselves,whereby they thought all things unclean, that were offered to idols, and therefore they could not use them with good conscience. For this force hath conscience, that if it be good, it maketh things indifferent good, and if it be evil, it maketh them evil.
  15. 1 Corinthians 8:8 A preventing of an objection: Why then, shall we therefore be deprived of our liberty? Nay saith the Apostle, you shall lose no part of Christianity although you abstain for your brethren’s sake, as also if you receive the meat, it maketh you no whit the more holy, for our commendation before God consisteth not in meats: but to use our liberty with offense of our brethren, is an abuse of liberty, the true use whereof is clean contrary, to wit, so to use it, as in using of it we have consideration of our weak brethren.
  16. 1 Corinthians 8:10 Another plainer explication of the same reason, propounding the example of the sitting down at the table in the idol’s temple, which thing the Corinthians did evil accompt of among things indifferent, because it is simply forbidden for the circumstance of the place, although offense do cease, as it shall be declared in his place.
  17. 1 Corinthians 8:11 An amplification of the argument taken both of comparison and contraries: Thou wretched man, saith he, pleasing thyself with thy knowledge which indeed is none (for if thou haddest true knowledge, thou wouldest not sit down to meat in idol’s temple) wilt thou destroy thy brother, hardening his weak conscience by this example to do evil, for whose salvation Christ himself has died?
  18. 1 Corinthians 8:12 Another amplification: Such offending of our weak brethren redoundeth unto Christ, and therefore let not these men think that they have to do only with their brethren.
  19. 1 Corinthians 8:13 The conclusion, which Paul conceiveth in his own person, that he might not seem to exact that of others, which he will not be first subject unto himself. I had rather (saith he) abstain forever from all kind of flesh, than give occasion of sin to any of my brethren, much less would I refuse in any certain place or time for my brother’s sake not to eat flesh offered to idols.