Reading for Wednesday, Sept. 5: 1 Cor 8
Paul turns his attention to another pressing matter in Corinth: food sacrificed to idols. Is this behavior permissible or not? Paul begins by affirming the Jewish monotheistic tradition: “We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one,” (v4). He goes on: “…for us there is but one God, that 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,” (v6). This is the basis for Paul’s refusal to condemn the practice of eating food sacrificed to idols.
However, Paul also cautions the believers to exercise discernment. What is permissible may not necessarily be prudent, especially in matters concerning the younger / weaker in the faith. Paul urges the believers to a life of consideration, being ever attuned to the implications of their actions. If such a practice might cause another to stumble, then “I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall,” (v13).
What are the modern parallels to this unique circumstance in Corinth? Matters of judgment abound today just as surely as they did in Paul’s time. And even though this particular issue is no longer a threat to churches in the Christian West, Paul’s counsel is worthy of our consideration still. May we always consider the implications of our actions and the responsibility we have to the younger / weaker in the faith. And may their well being and spiritual growth trump our desire to express spiritual liberty and “knowledge.”
“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (v1)