To Eat or Not to Eat - 1 Corinthians 8

To Eat or Not To Eat

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

The Greeks had many gods.  Corinth was a city given over to idolatry.  Worshipers brought animal sacrifices to the temples.  They were offered on pagan altars.  This meant that there was an abundance of meat at the temples, much more than the heathen priests could consume.  The meat was sold to local butchers, who in turn sold it to restaurants and the general public for consumption.

A problem arose in the church.  Was it a sin for a Christian to eat meat that had been offered to idols?  To eat or not to eat?  That was the question Paul deals with in 1 Corinthians 8.

"Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one."  Idols are nothing.  They cannot see or hear or speak or do anything.  As far as Paul was concerned, they were a non-factor.  1 Corinthians 8:4.

The apostle wrote that "food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse."  Our relationship with the Lord has nothing to do with our choice of food.  In other words, it doesn't matter whether or not the meat we eat was sacrificed to idols.  It is not a sin to eat barbequed beef at the temple diner.  1 Corinthians 8:8.

In the light of this you could think that Paul would say, "Enjoy your meal."  But he doesn't.  Instead he issues a word of caution, saying, "Beware lest somehow this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block to those who are weak."  In partaking of the meat, the weak conscience of others was wounded.  This is a sin against both the brother and against Christ.  To the church at Rome he wrote, "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak."  Romans 14:21.

Paul concludes, "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."  1 Corinthians 8:13.  It appears that the apostle Paul became a vegetarian so that he would not offend the brother with a weak conscience.

As Christians "for us there is one God, the Father of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live."  We are for God, and we live through Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 8:6.  If we truly love the Lord, we should be careful that we do not offend the weak conscience of others, causing them to stumble. 


Father, we want to make the right choices and do the right thing.  We love You.  Let Your love be our constant motivation in all our decisions and relationships.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!   


Support Your Gospel Preacher - 1 Corinthians 9


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Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
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by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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