1 Corinthians 8The apostle here proceeds to consider another of the subjects which the Corinthian Christians had brought to his notice in their letter to him. Among the heathen nations in those days, animals were offered in sacrifice, to idols, and then, after some part of the flesh had been consumed by fire, the remainder was restored to the owner for use as food, and sent to the markets for sale; or feasts in honor of the false deity were prepared from it, in or near the temple. Now, many of the Jews supposed that if they ate food which had been thus offered to idols, even ignorantly, they were partakers of the sin of idolatry. This was an excessive and unnecessary scrupulousness; for one is not responsible for any accidental connection he may have, in such a case, with any wicked system or practice, unless his acts exert a direct and appreciable influence in encouraging or sustaining it. Hence the direction given in 1 Cor. 10:25. On the other hand, the Gentile converts sometimes went to the other extreme, and because they knew, as they expressed it, that an idol was nothing, they seem to have often done what greatly offended the consciences of their Jewish brethren. Hence such directions as 8:9-13 and 10:28. This subject was often the occasion of discussion and difficulty in the early church, (Acts 15:20, Rom. 14:) and it is always settled on this admirable principle, viz., that very little intrinsic importance is to be attached to such outward and ceremonial transactions, but that still every one is to regulate his conduct, in respect to them, so as carefully to guard against doing any violence to the feelings, or even to the prejudices, of a Christian brother.—Have knowledge; think we have knowledge, as is shown to be the meaning by what follows.—Knowledge puffeth up; vain confidence in our opinions does so.—Charity; love, a feeling of kindness and good-will.
Is known of him; is made to know, that is, is taught by him.
Gods many, and lords many; that is, in the mythology of the heathen nations.
By whom; by whose agency. As the great Mediator, Jesus Christ is here, as elsewhere, represented as the vicegerent of God, sitting at his right hand, and administering his moral and providential government.
That knowledge. Here the word knowledge is used in its ordinary sense, and not as in the first verse.—With conscience of the idol; with conscientious feelings in respect to the idol.
Which hast knowledge; whose mind is enlightened in regard to the moral indifference of the act.—Be imboldened to eat, &c.; and thus led to sin by doing what he supposes to be wrong.
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