Saturday, November 22. 1 Corinthians 7 – 10

I doubt any Christian in my home country ever thinks about whether it is appropriate to eat food sacrificed to idols. Idolatry, at least of the sort Paul has in mind here, never intrudes into our daily lives. We are not, however, the only Christians and for many in the world, this is a very relevant issue.

The over-all point Paul makes is indeed a matter all the Church should take seriously.

Paul has asserted that idols are nothing and the gods they represent are nothing. Some Christians realize this and therefore eating meat sacrificed to idols means nothing to them. But, Paul says, not everyone, even in the Church, feels this way. To eat meat offered to idols might, by your example, actually promote idolatry among those people (chapter 8). In Chapter 9, Paul says that care and concern for your brethren is more important than personal feelings, and we should do whatever will help them and not hinder their spiritual growth. In Chapter 10, Paul deals with this in a practical way. First, even if we discount the viability of idolatry, you don’t want to be too accepting of it. The next thing you know, you will be enmeshed in its rituals. Second, though we may not believe in other gods, our participation in their rituals indicates to others that we do believe – a notion we must not perpetuate. So, third, eat what’s put in front of you and don’t ask any questions. But if it becomes known that the meat is connected with idolatry, refuse it. You don’t want to give the false impression.

The point for us moderns is that we do have to care about where our behavior leads other people. While food offered to idols might not be part of our experiences, the notion of putting the welfare of others above our own certainly should be a part of our practices.