1 Corinthians Chapter Eight, Liberty Limited By Love...

In our study of 1 Corinthians chapter eight, we will look at the reason why we, as Christians, do not participate in many of the things that others do.  

1 Corinthians 8:1 - 3

"Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God." NIV translation

The believers in Corinth had written Paul asking him about eating meat that had been offered to idols. In this city there were pagan temples and the people brought their choice animals to the temple as sacrifices. After they were presented to these false gods, the meat would be sold in the shops for food. If you wanted the finest of meats, then, you would go to these shops and buy the meat that had been offered. The people had asked Paul whether this was allowed or not. He begins his answer by reminding us that love is superior to knowledge and, as Christians, we should be governed by love and not by knowledge.

1 Corinthians 8:4 - 6

"So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the 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." NIV translation

Paul explains that we, as mature Christians, understand that idols and these false gods are nothing at all. We know that there is one God who created all things and one Lord which is His Son Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 8:7

"But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled." NIV translation

Even though we may understand that idols are really nothing, there are those who do not have that knowledge. In their mind, the idols are something and so food that is given to them should not be touched.