Eating Meat Sacrificed to Idols
December 5, 2021 Speaker: Series: 1 Corinthians
Passage: 1 Corinthians 8:1–8:13
Problem #6: (1 Cor. 8-11:1) Some Corinthian Christians are eating food offered to idols in a way that “stumbles” their weaker brothers and sisters in Christ (ch. 8), or (ch.10) in a way that is a fellowship with demons
1. Do not make your brother or sister tumble, because Christ died for them. Be willing to give up your rights for the sake of the gospel. Loving one’s brothers and sisters is more important than enjoying one’s rights (chapter 8).
2. Paul gave up his rights for the sake of the gospel (chapter 9).
3. We’re a fellowship of the Lord’s table. We’re a fellowship of the Lord’s blood. We’re a
fellowship of the Lord’s body. Christians do not constitute a fellowship circumscribed by
demonic worship. We cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too. We
cannot have a part in both the Lord’s Table and the table of demons (chapter 10).
Interpretive Helps: In chapter 8, eating food sacrificed to idols is morally neutral, but in 10:19 it is idolatrous because eating it in that context is participating in idolatry. Paul’s argument assumes two tiers of temple meals: 1) those not inherently idolatrous or objectively defiling (1 Cor 8:10); and, 2) those inherently idolatrous and objectively defiling (1 Cor 10:20–21).
Paul prohibits the Corinthian Christians from eating meat sacrificed to idols in three contexts, but he allows it in two:
(1) Yes. You have the right to eat meat sacrificed to idols in an idol’s temple when it is not part of the pagan religious ritual (ch. 8).
(2) No. Give up your right to eat meat sacrificed to idols in an idol’s temple if it would harm a fellow Christian (ch. 8).
(3) No. Do not eat meat sacrificed to idols in an idol’s temple as part of the pagan religious ritual, for to do so would be to participate in demon worship (10:14–22).
(4) Yes. You have the right to eat meat sacrificed to idols that you can buy in the meat
market and eat in your home or the homes of your neighbors (10:25–27).
(5) No. Give up your right to eat meat sacrificed to idols in another person’s home if a
person informs you that the meat was sacrificed to idols and thus implies that they think you as a Christian would object to eating the meat because that would be participating in idol worship (10:28–30).
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