This would not be the chapter to use for college prep flyers: Knowledge makes you arrogant, but love edifies. We teach love, too!
Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 is continuing his conversation about relationships. Before he even gets into the discussion on food sacrificed to idols, he warns the Corinthians about “knowledge”…we can know many things, but if that knowledge is not used in love, it only feeds an inflated view of ourselves. God always knows more, so we should never be self-satisfied in the knowledge we have.
All the believers knew that idols were not real. They all knew that there was good food to buy from those vendors, and that it was still just meat. But Paul warned them about misusing this knowledge. Some people had lived in idol worship and considered it sin to eat from the sacrifices. To them, it was sin. Paul sums up the matter with,
“11 For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 12 And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.”
What would Paul write to us about today? Maybe about having a drink in a club at night, or going gambling. Joining a popular dance club. Keeping up on the most popular TV shows and music. God gave us basic guidelines in the Bible (like Philippians 4:8), but He does not spell it out for us. It takes a personal conversation with the Holy Spirit to determine your personal boundaries, sometimes on a daily basis. Some days I love to watch popular TV shows, and others I am not in the right mindset and it would steer me away from God. The same with romantic literature that is as “Christian Fiction” as it comes.
Staying right with God is one part of this chapter, the other is staying right with other believers. What is your witness to them? Will it build them up, or will it feed a sin-craving?
Knowledge puffs up, and it is easy to judge another believer for being weak. But it would be hurting someone that Christ loves so much He died for them! Our relationships are not isolated, but interconnected.
God, what in my life do I need to give up for other believers to be helped? How can I better serve those around me? Please help me to understand Your love and seek to show it to those around me through my activities. Amen.