In 1 Cor. 8:1-8, Paul offers clarity concerning the varied beliefs about eating food offered to idols rebukes and the church of Corinth. Paul uses the debate amongst the church to illustrate something that should be valued in every Christian community… sensitivity to what causes other to stumble.
This passage illustrates how to handle conflict of beliefs concerning things that are not explicitly stated in the Bible. Paul starts off with taking the focus from being the one who “knows” the right answer to being one who loves God and loves people. Then, Paul breaks down the issue of why eating food dedicated to idols is or is not okay; people in Corinth were accustomed to worshipping idols, thus once they became believers, they had hard time getting used to the truth that God has made everything clean, meaning that they were free to eat the food (but not worship the idol).
Paul reaches his main point in verse 8, “It’s true that we cannot gain God’s approval by what we eat”. This truth must be handled carefully in how we apply it to every day life because there is a danger to take that freedom too far; yes, nothing we do or don’t do can change God’s love for us, but, we must be aware of two factors; one, this truth does not mean that we should drop our efforts to be like Christ. Two, we must be conscious of whether our words and actions are drawing others around us to Jesus.
If I could leave you with one final point, it is - Let everything you do and say be motivated by love for God and love for people, and do not allow your knowledge to trump your love for others.
Ask God to replace any places of your heart that value knowledge above love.
- Bailey Meyne