Concerning: Disputable Matters 9-20

1 Corinthians 8

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” Aristotle

Concerning meat sacrificed to idols is addressed from here into Chapter 10 and should be read in respect to what is being said here. This will, as we will see, also help us in the disputable matters we face as well, since we too have knowledge and freedom in Christ!

Paul goes out of his way in verses 4-6 to emphasize that there is only one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is through the Son that all things were created, creator of heaven and earth, the Apostle John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.”

Have any of you ever been concerned about the meat you bought at the store coming from a sacrifice to an idol? In this day and age that is not an issue we concern ourselves with. But, back then, as a Christian, should I eat meat sold in the market or any meat for that matter since I don’t know if it was consecrated to an idol or not? 

Sacrifices were often divided between the idol, the priests, and those who brought the sacrifice. The idol often got certain small portions, the one who brought it about a third, and the rest went with the priests who would often sell it in the market. 

Vs. 10 – Then there were the pagan feasts that took place at the temples and where the community was invited to attend and some of those who had knowledge, who claimed Christ, were dining with the heathens and pagans who worshiped there. The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, clearly calls this sin IF you wound their weak conscience and they are ruined by your knowledge.

But having some knowledge of God and having been set free from the written law in Christ, why not? Remember back in chapter 1 we were told of how the Corinthians were proud of their spiritual knowledge (1:5). They understood, like us, that an idol was nothing more than a representation of a false god that did not exist. A nonexistent god could not pollute food offered on its altar. So this became a disputable matter at the Corinthian church. 

But there are things in this life now, in our day, that are disputable matters that can cause all kinds of harm; that pollute the body, the mind, and the soul because of weakness of faith and conscience or physiological problems, and all to often, our lack of love – which is sin. Sin is a failure to love! 

Verses 7-9 warn us to be careful with how we use our knowledge, that it does not become a stumbling block to the weak… So, you think you can do this or that now and not be a stumbling block or wound an immature or weak conscience? 

Is that not what is being taught here for all of Christendom? Some of the things that you and I, Christians, do, could cause others to stumble. If they stumble because of your actions, then it is clearly sin. Vs. 13 –The Holy Spirit expounds on this in Romans 14:21, “It is a good thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble.”  There could be collateral damage or unforeseen consequences to your actions. You could cause someone to fall by what you approve, condone, or partake in…

I have seen people pulled from the Church over sporting activities, they deem it okay to miss a Sunday or two but the next thing you know they are not here. They, by all measure, have fallen away, and are pursuing the world. What is it offering? Their witness to others is now – what? Their priority has shifted and should they have children, what is that showing them?

 In 1 Timothy 5:7-8 we are commanded, “Give these instructions to the believers, so that they will be above reproach. If anyone does not provide or his own, especially his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Are not parents to provide Spiritual training, to bring their children up in the discipline and  instruction of the Lord as Ephesians 6:4 tells us? So, if your other priorities are keeping you from bringing them up within the Church, is that not a stumbling block? Is that not sin? 

Now let’s talk about the disputable matter of drinking, I will tell you that there is nothing in God’s Word that forbids the consuming of alcohol, of wine or beer, or strong drink. It is forbidden and a sin to be drunk and we are warned through out scripture about drunkenness. 

In the Old Testament, Aaron and his sons, the priests, were strictly forbidden to drink either wine or strong drink when they went into the tabernacle to minister before the Lord (see Leviticus 10:9).

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9

It is a good thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble

Digging Deeper

  • Could your actions (or lack thereof) cause another to stumble or fall?
  • If your actions could, or have, is it not time to repent and turn from them to God?
  • If you have wandered from Christ and His Church, is it not time to return?

Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 8, 9, 10, Luke 17:1-4, Luke 21:34, Matthew 18:6-9, Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 23:29-35, Romans 14:1-23 (21), Ephesians 5:18, Titus 2:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Matthew 22:34-40, 1 Peter 4:1-11

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