First Corinthians 8 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 6, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 

  1. 8.1–3 | Knowledge vs Love

    1 Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
    1. That knowledge puffs us up whereas love edifies drives Paul’s discussion. 
      1. We know things, but love moves us to use our knowledge for the improvement of our brother. 
      2. Having knowledge only causes us to think of our personal liberty and not our brother’s conscience. 
        1. However, love knows that personal liberty does not come first. 
        2. Even as Jesus thought of us before Himself, so we should think of others before we think of ourselves. 
          1. Do not let our current political environment keep you from practicing the teaching of Scripture. 
          2. Politics right now in America says that it does not matter whether my actions causes my brother to stumble. 
            1. Yet, what does the Bible teach? 
            2. It teaches that the soul of our brother supersedes the exercise of our personal freedom. 
    2. What had the Corinthians asked Paul? 
      1. What do you think they wanted to know about things sacrificed to idols? 
      2. Why does Paul first address having knowledge and love? 
        1. Sometimes you have to lay down preliminary matters. 
        2. For example, I sometimes have to remind people that the Holy Spirit inspired the writings of the various men, so that people will more readily accept what the Scripture says, even if they disagree with it initially. 
      3. Paul was about to show something concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, but he wanted them to know that love rules over knowledge and you will see why as we go through his presentation. 
    3. What did Paul mean in verse 2? 
      1. Can we never know anything? 
      2. Does the context help us to understand his point? 
        1. I think the context shows 
        2. that we should be careful with 
          1. what we claim to know and 
          2. what we do with what we know. 
    4. Which is greater: 
      1. To know of God? 
      2. To love God? 
        1. What did Paul say is the benefit of loving God? 
        2. Is there a benefit to knowing that there is a God? 
  2. 8.4–6 | Idols Are Nothing

    4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
    1. What is an idol, literally? 
      1. Notice that Paul said, “we know that…” 
        1. We must know that an idol is nothing. 
        2. We must know that there is no other God but one. 
      2. Still we can and should know these things, but what we know has to be tempered with love, so that by our knowledge we do not harm a brother. 
    2. If an idol is nothing, what does that say about whether we can eat things offered to idols? 
    3. Why in this context, did Paul state that all things are of the one Father, that we are for Him, that there is one Lord Jesus Christ and that all things are of Him and that through Him we live? 
  3. 8.7 | Different Levels of Maturity

    7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
    1. There is not knowledge in everyone about what? 
    2. When Paul says, “for some” is he referring to Christians or idolaters or both? 
      1. It could certainly apply to those we seek to convert, such as the idolaters. 
      2. It could refer to new Christians who have not yet gotten over the fact that idols are nothing. 
        1. They still see the idol and they see something that is real. 
        2. Yes, they need to change, but we have to be careful what we do around them. 
          1. If they see us eating meat previously sacrificed to an idol, in their minds we have participated in worship of that idol. 
          2. That defiles their conscience. 
            1. What then have we done? 
            2. We have to decide which is most important: 
              1. Our food choices? 
              2. Our brethren? 
  4. 8.8–12 | Food Is Nothing

    8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. 9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
    1. On what level does Paul put food? 
      1. If we eat food or certain foods, does that make us better to God? 
      2. If we abstain from food, does that make us better or worse before God? 
    2. Should I have no concern about how my liberties might affect my brother? 
    3. If a brother or potential convert sees us eating meat offered to an idol, is it possible that he might think it is okay to participate in such activities? 
    4. Did Christ die for your liberties or to save the lost? 
    5. I cannot let my knowledge move me to have no regard for my brother. 
      1. Remember that knowledge puffs up, but 
      2. love edifies. 
        1. What do we mean that love edifies? 
        2. It means that I use my knowledge to build others up first before partaking of my liberties. 
    6. If I cause my brother to stumble, what have I committed? 
      1. If I have sinned against my brother, against whom have I ultimately sinned? 
      2. If I sin against Christ, what shall happen to me? 
  5. 8.13 | Brethren Are Above Food

    13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
    1. How far was Paul willing to go to keep his brother from stumbling? 
    2. Did he mean he would not eat meat even when away from that brother or just when around his brother?