Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 8

Knowledge and its dangers

1 Corinthians 8:1-3

Knowledge can be a dangerous thing. In other words, it is possible to know something, but to use that information unwisely. For a Christian, it is unwise to use knowledge in a way that hurts someone else.

Paul was replying to a series of questions from the church leaders at Corinth. Their first question was about marriage; this second question is about meat. The question was: ‘Should Christians eat meat that someone has offered to a false god?’ These questions were causing serious arguments among Christians at Corinth.

It was common then for people to take their animals to a priest of their religion. The priest would kill the animal in a special ceremony and he would take some of the meat. He would return the rest of the meat to the person who brought the animal.

Some Christians believed that they could eat that meat. Although the priest had offered it to a false god, they gave thanks to the real God for it. They did not eat the meat in order to give honour to the false god. Instead, they accepted the meat as something that God had provided for them.

That was their knowledge, and it was right. But those Christians did not realise how seriously they were offending other people. Those other people were weaker in their relationship with Christ. Anyone who ate that meat seemed to be giving honour to the false god. The result was an impression that nobody could serve the real God properly.

Paul told those Christians that love was much better than knowledge. Their knowledge was spoiling other people’s relationships with God. But they would help those other people if, instead, they acted in love (1 Corinthians chapter 13).

Next part: About idols and the real God (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.