Summary: Paul answers one of the most controversial subjects that the Corinthians had asked in their letter. "Is it a sin for Christians to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols?" The basic principle involved is, "What is the proper Christian attitude toward
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
Charles Spurgeon frequently visited Monaco which had been a gambling resort for years. Spurgeon, of course, was not a gambler, but he enjoyed visiting the grounds of the Casino of Monte Carlo and walking through its lavish gardens. Spurgeon thought the gardens were some of the most beautiful in the world. One day after a conversation with a friend, Spurgeon determined that he would never go there again. The owner of the casino had said to Spurgeon’s friend, "You hardly ever visit my gardens anymore." Spurgeon’s friend replied that since he didn’t gamble it would not be fair of him to continue to enjoy the beautiful gardens without making some contribution to the casino. The owner encouraged the friend to continue visiting because he would lose customers if the friend quit visiting the gardens. He said, "There are many people who don’t intend to gamble in the casino who feel quite comfortable visiting the gardens. Then, from the gardens, it is but a short distance to the gambling tables. You see, when you visit my gardens, you attract other people who eventually become my gambling customers." (Source Unknown)
Paul answers one of the most controversial subjects that the Corinthians had asked in their letter. "Is it a sin for Christians to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols?" The basic principle involved is, "What is the proper Christian attitude toward things that are harmless in themselves but have an evil connotation to others?" Some of the Christians, while knowing theoretically that an idol was nothing, were unable to break away from old associations in which they thought of these idols as evil deities. In answer to this, Paul says, "Knowledge must be balanced by love" (v. 1-3). Among the Corinthian Christians there evidently was considerable difference of opinion as to whether believers should or should not partake of such meat. Some of the Christians displayed a know-it-all attitude by saying there was nothing wrong with eating the meat offered to idols, and those who refused to eat it were just ignorant. Instead of building up the weak saints, the strong Christians were only puffing themselves up. Paul says that if it causes his brother to stumble, he is willing to give up not just meat offered to idols, but meat itself (v. 13).
My Christian standard should be not only to totally abstain from that which is evil, but also to refrain from doing anything that might be a stumbling block to others.