Christian Basics Bible Sampler - Page 21

page 1311 • 1 Corinthians 8
who weep or who rejoice or who buy things
should not be absorbed by their weeping
or their joy or their possessions. 31 Those
who use the things of the world should not
become attached to them. For this world as
we know it will soon pass away.
I want you to be free from the concerns
of this life. An unmarried man can spend
his time doing the Lord’s work and think­
ing how to please him. 33 But a married man
has to think about his earthly responsibili­
ties and how to please his wife. 34 His inter­
ests are divided. In the same way, a woman
who is no longer married or has never been
married can be devoted to the Lord and holy
in body and in spirit. But a married woman
has to think about her earthly responsibili­
ties and how to please her husband. 35 I am
saying this for your benefit, not to place re­
strictions on you. I want you to do whatever
will help you serve the Lord best, with as
few distractions as possible.
But if a man thinks that he’s treating his
fiancée improperly and will inevitably give
in to his passion, let him marry her as he
wishes. It is not a sin. 37But if he has decided
firmly not to marry and there is no urgency
and he can control his passion, he does well
not to marry. 38 So the person who marries
his fiancée does well, and the person who
doesn’t marry does even better.
A wife is bound to her husband as long
as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free
to marry anyone she wishes, but only if
he loves the Lord.* 40 But in my opinion it
would be better for her to stay single, and
I think I am giving you counsel from God’s
Spirit when I say this.
Food Sacrificed to Idols
Now regarding your question about
food that has been offered to idols.
Yes, we know that “we all have knowl­
edge” about this issue. But while knowl­
edge makes us feel important, it is love
7:1 Or to live a celibate life; Greek reads It is good for a man not
to touch a woman. 
7:10 See Matt 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12;
Luke 16:18. 7:12 Greek a brother. 
7:14 Greek the brother. 
7:15a Greek the brother or sister. 
7:15b Some manuscripts read
7:23 Greek don’t become slaves of people. 
7:24 Greek
brothers; also in 7:29. 7:26 Or the pressures of life. 
7:39 Greek
but only in the Lord. 
Freedom and responsibility
In 1 Corinthians 8–10, Paul replies to another question from the Corinthians
(the first was at 7:1). It concerned “food that has been offered to idols” (8:1).
Corinth had many temples; and since sacrifices involved only part of the animal,
the rest was eaten by worshipers at the temple or sold in markets. Division had
arisen over whether Christians could eat such meat. Since it had been offered
to idols, some rejected it; but others ate it, saying idols had no power. Such
disagreements had led to both offense and arrogance.
Paul says idols indeed have no power (8:4-6), but eating meat in a temple
might undermine a weaker Christian’s faith (8:7). So stronger Christians should
put weaker Christians’ interests first (8:9-13), not insisting on their rights
(chapter 9), and therefore avoid eating in temples (10:14-24). But meat from the
temples that had been bought in the marketplace can be eaten (10:25-33) since
it has now lost its idolatrous associations.
The principle behind this issue is still relevant today: How do we deal with issues
that we don’t feel strongly about but that other Christians do? (In Romans 14,
Paul deals with the opposite side of the same coin: How do we deal with issues
that we ourselves feel strongly about but that other Christians don’t?) It is easy to
look down on others we feel aren’t as strong or enlightened as us, or to dismiss
as “weak” those who don’t feel free to do what we do—and equally to dismiss
as “unspiritual” those who do things that we don’t. But Christians are called to
understand one other and live together harmoniously. So stronger Christians
should always put weaker Christians’ interests first, and not insist on their rights.
See also Living with differences, page 1365.

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