Bible Commentaries

1 Corinthians 8

Verses 1-13

The apostle next dealt with the subject of "things sacrificed to idols." The question evidently was whether the members of the Church in Corinth ought under any circumstances to eat parts of the heathen sacrifices which were sold in the market places for general consumption as food. In dealing with the question the apostle, by contrasting knowledge and love, laid down a principle that is of far wider application than the subject itself demands. He shows that "knowledge puffeth up," while "love edifieth," or "buildeth up"; and thus at once reveals love rather than knowledge as the true principle of action.

If knowledge is the simple principle and as an idol is nothing, sacrifices offered to idols have no meaning or value. The evident deduction is that in the light of knowledge a man may eat most certainly. Howbeit the apostle says not all men have that knowledge. Some have been used until now to the idol. They have considered it real, and the judgment, while evidencing the weakness of their knowledge, is nevertheless real to them.

The Christian principle of love demands consideration of the weakness of them; consequently the question whether such meat is to be eaten by the Christian must ever be decided on the basis of that principle. The apostle summarizes the whole position in the superlative words with which this section closes, "If meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble."