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Knowledge, Food, Conscience & Rights: 1 Corinthians 8:7-9

September 10, 2023 Preacher: Bob DeWaay Series: 1 Corinthians

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:7-9

This section continues the contention between Paul and the Corinthian church about food offered to idols. They were using slogans about knowledge, idols and God’s existence to justify eating meals in the idol temples with the pagans.

Paul confronts those who do so as harming the weak who are new converts from paganism. We point out that in such contexts, “weak” and “strong” do not describe undesirable versus desirable categories. The strong were likely of low social standing who would be tempted to violate their consciences and eat to prove they were knowledgeable and do so to their own harm.

In the sermon we explain the likely dynamics of this. Paul is concerned about the unity of the body of Christ and that the well-being of each member is at the forefront of the concerns of all. In the church at Corinth this was not the case. For every believer, our standing is secure by God’s work of grace which keeps us.

The freedom of the bold and self-assured was used to place serious pressure on those less self-assured to find acceptance in ways that would bring spiritual damage. Also, the pagan temples were places to find acceptance in the importance social spheres of Corinthian society. Eating idol food with the pagans was tempting but wrong for Christians. Paul will spell out just how wrong in 1 Corinthians 10.

For now he warns about using “rights” to put stumbling blocks before fellow Christians. In the sermon we explain a number of important terms from the Greek, giving definitions which help us understand 1 Corinthians 8.