I Corinthians 8

There is nothing in the distinction of food that will make any distinction between men in God’s account, and the Christian is free to eat that which the conscience allows. Nevertheless he must be careful how he uses this liberty, lest it be the occasion of stumbling or hazard the ruin of one younger and weaker in the faith.

1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

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

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

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

6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 – Consideration for Others’ Weakness

   It was the heathen custom of the time to present for blessing in the idol temples the food that was sold and bought in public marketplaces. A grave question arose, therefore, as to whether the Christian convert might partake of such food without blame. Paul took a broad and common-sense view of the situation. He declared there is only one God and that an idol is an absolute nonentity. Therefore it was a matter of perfect indifference what the heathen butchers might have done before they exposed their meat for sale. At the same time if some weaker brother were really thrown back in his Christian life by seeing his fellow-believer eating in a heathen temple, that in itself would at once be a sufficient reason why the stronger should abstain for the weaker brother’s sake. There are many things which, so far as we personally are concerned, we might feel free to do or permit, but which we must avoid if they threaten to hinder the practice or divert the course of some fellow-Christian. —Through the Bible Day by Day

I Corinthians 8:13—If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth.

   There are two principles for our guidance in doubtful and debatable questions.
   First, the law of conscience. The apostle does not hesitate to say that the scruples of the weaker brethren were unquestionably needless. Idols have no real existence, and the presentation of food in their presence before it is eaten is a matter of complete indifference. “If we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse” (1 Corinthians 8:8). At the same time, if a man were not able to reach this high standard, and still believed that an idol had a real existence, and that it was wrong for him to partake of food which had been offered to it, he must abide by that decision, and must on no account force himself to more liberal action. His conscience might be misinformed, and he should take every means of bringing it to a more healthy condition; but if it still remained stationary, he must accept its ruling.
   Secondly, the law of charity. We must consider one another. No one liveth to himself. We are members of the body of Christ, and have no right to injure any who are so closely allied with us, and on whose healthy existence our own materially depends. If, then, we see that certain other souls are constantly being caused to stumble, because of what we do; not simply surprised and startled, but actually made to sin; trying to do as we do, but as often as they attempt it, falling short; unable to take our steep path without falling; always brought into condemnation when in our company; there is no alternative—for their sakes we must forego what is innocent and pleasant to ourselves. It may be a daily glass of wine, or attendance at some form of amusement, or some evil habit—but the love of Christ forbids. —Our Daily Homily