Thursday, June 10, 2010

1 Corinthians 8

1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that "We all possess knowledge." But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that "An idol is nothing at all in the world" and that "There is no God but one." 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. 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, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol's temple, won't they be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 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.

Questions to consider:
  • What is the problem here?
  • What knowledge do some Christians possess that others do not?
  • How are they failing to show love to the others?
  • What responsibility do you have to another person’s conscience?
  • In what ways are you building up a Christian brother or sister by not flaunting your knowledge to their detriment?

Possibilities for prayer:

There’s a lot of wisdom in thinking carefully about how the things we choose to do might negatively affect the spiritual growth of those around us. Paul makes the distinction that it is not so much about the action (here, of eating food sacrificed to idols) but about the consequences. Let’s pray for wisdom in the decisions we make, and the consequences those decisions might have. Ask for an increasing awareness of and compassion for those who look to us as examples of Christ in this world, that we might be encouraging examples rather than discouraging ones.