1 Corinthians 8:1-6

Take Care with Your Liberty

1 Now concerning 1things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have 2knowledge. Knowledge 3makes arrogant, but love 4edifies.
2 5If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet 6known as he ought to know;
3 but if anyone loves God, he 7is known by Him.
4 Therefore concerning the eating of 8things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is 9no such thing as an idol in the world, and that 10there is no God but one.
5 For even if 11there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
6 yet for us 12there is but one God, 13the Father, 14from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and 15one Lord, Jesus Christ, 16by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

1 Corinthians 8:1-6 Meaning and Commentary


In this chapter the apostle proceeds to consider the case of eating things offered to idols, which, though an indifferent thing, was abused by many in the Corinthian church, to the scandal and hurt of weak Christians; wherefore the apostle dissuades from the use of it, and refutes the arguments which were used by them in defence of their practice. And the general foundation on which they proceeded being their knowledge of Christian liberty, he begins with that; and makes answer to it, by granting, that he, and they, and all had knowledge in general; and by distinguishing between knowledge and charity, the one puffing up, and the other edifying: wherefore to argue from the one, to the disuse of the other, was wrong, 1Co 8:1 seeing that kind of knowledge, which was not accompanied with love, was no true knowledge, 1Co 8:2 but that was right which had annexed to it love to God, and our neighbour, 1Co 8:3 and then applies this observation to the case of things offered to idols; and explains the knowledge which some had, and boasted of, that an idol was nothing, and that there was but one God, 1Co 8:4 which latter he proves and confirms, partly by allowing that there were many nominal gods and lords, both in heaven and earth; but then they were only so by name, not by nature, 1Co 8:5 and partly by observing the common faith of Christians, that there is but one God, and one Lord Jesus, who are both described by their names and properties, 1Co 8:6 But now, though there was such knowledge concerning an idol, as nothing, and things offered to it, as indifferent, in some, this was not the case of all; who, as their knowledge was small, their consciences were weak, and were defiled by eating such things through the example of others, 1Co 8:7 wherefore it became such who had greater knowledge to abstain from eating them; partly from the unprofitableness of such eating to them with respect to divine acceptance, it making them neither better nor worse, 1Co 8:8 and partly from the harmfulness of it to others, it being a stumblingblock to the weak, which ought not to be laid in their way, 1Co 8:9 and emboldening to do so likewise to the injury of their weak consciences, 1Co 8:10 and so was to the loss and ruin of their peace and comfort, which is aggravated by their being brethren, and such for whom Christ died, 1Co 8:11. Thus by wounding their weak consciences, they that drew them into this practice, by their example, sinned both against their brethren, and Christ himself, 1Co 8:12. From all which the apostle concludes, that rather than offend a weak brother, it was right never to eat any flesh at all; and this he strengthens by his own example and resolution, 1Co 8:13.

Cross References 16

  • 1. Acts 15:20; 1 Cor 8:4, 7, 10
  • 2. Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 8:7, 10; 1 Corinthians 10:15
  • 3. 1 Corinthians 4:6
  • 4. Romans 14:19
  • 5. 1 Corinthians 3:18
  • 6. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12; 1 Timothy 6:4
  • 7. Psalms 1:6; Jeremiah 1:5; Amos 3:2; Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2; Galatians 4:9
  • 8. Acts 15:20; 1 Cor 8:1, 7, 10
  • 9. Acts 14:15; 1 Corinthians 10:19; Galatians 4:8
  • 10. Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6
  • 11. 2 Thessalonians 2:4
  • 12. Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 46:9; Jeremiah 10:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 8:4
  • 13. Malachi 2:10; Ephesians 4:6
  • 14. Romans 11:36
  • 15. John 13:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:5
  • 16. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Lit "puffs up"
  • [b]. Lit "nothing is an idol in the world;" i.e. an idol has no real existence
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