Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

1 Corinthians 8

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Verse 1


1) “Now as touching things off red unto idols.” (peri de ton eidolothuton) “Now concerning the idolatrous sacrifices” - In addition to civil-law problems of business disputes and mental relations of believers with heathens, the Corinth church was also confronted with problems of heathen worship.

2) “We know that we all have knowledge.” (oidamen hoti pantes gnosin echomen) “We perceive that all have learning or some comprehension.”

3) “Knowledge puffeth up.” (gnosis phusioi) “Knowledge of accumulated kind” - “puffs up like a puff-adder,” is egotistic, sensual, selfish in nature.

4) “But charity edifieth.” (he deagape oikodomei) “But the high, holy, true love builds up”; the love for God, above all else domes up a finished life, Colossians 3:14; 1 Timothy 2:14; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 4:8; 3 John 1:6.

Verse 2

1) “And if any man thinketh that he knoweth any thing.” (ei tis dokei egnokenai ti) “if anyone seems, thinks, or presumes to have known anything for himself” - any expressed learning of Christian liberty was to respect avoidance of sanctioning idol worship. Acts 15:26.

2) “He knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” (oupei egno kathos dei gnonai) “Not yet, he knew, just as it becomes him to know.” What attitude and discretion should Christians of the Lord’s churches take or exercise toward eating meats offered to idols, entering heathen temple areas to carry it out, or buying it in the market place for consumption? These are questions Paul proceeded to answer.

Verse 3

1) “But if any man love God.” (ei de tis agapa ton theon) “But if anyone should love the God, in a reverential love.” 1 John 4:7; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 5:1-2.

2) “The same is known of him.” (horitos; egnostai hup autou) “This one has been known of Him. ”This reverential love exists in each child of God, because of God’s first love for him, John 3:16; 1 John 4:19.

Verse 4

1) “As concerning therefore the eating,” (peri tes broseos oun) “concerning therefore the eating”. 1 Corinthians 10:19-21. To eat in any religious setting that would imply fellowship with false worship is of the devil.

2) “Of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols.” (ton eidolothuton) “of the idolatrous sacrifices.” Social fellowship with unbelievers and even with false religionists is sanctioned in the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 10:25) - But union worship fellowship never, 1 Corinthians 10:28-29; Hebrews 13:10.

3) “We know that an idol is nothing in the world.” (oidamen hoti ouden eidolon en kosmo) “We perceive that an idol is really nothing in the world, or universe.

4) “And that there is none other God but one.” (kai hoti oudeis theos ei me eis) “And that there exists no God, except (the) one.” Exodus 20:1-2; Isaiah 46:9; Mark 12:32.

Verse 5

1) “For though there be that are called gods.” (kai gor eiper eisin legomenoi theoi) “For even if there be (those) called gods.” Paul conceded some things and creatures were or might be labeled something they were not, or falsely labeled.

2) “Whether in heaven or in earth,” (eite en ourano eite epi ges) “Whether in heaven or upon earth.” Even Satan and his angels are fakes in religious claims, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

3) "(as there be gods many, and lords many).” (hosper eisin theoi polloi kai kurioi polloi) “Even as there exist gods many and lords many.” These are counterfeit, fake gods to which only fools bow, Psalms 115:3-8. The gods and lords many are only assumed deities, not real. Acts 17:22-28.

Verse 6

1) “But to us there is but one God.” (all’ hemin eis theos) “But to us (there is) one God.” This concept is monotheism as opposed to polytheism (many gods). Exodus 2:1-2; Ephesians 4:6.

2) “The Father, of whom are all things.” (ho pater eks ou ta panta) “The Father out of or originating from whom (are) all things.” He is the Father of all in the sense of Creator, Malachi 2:10; Ezekiel 18:3-4.

3) “And we in him.” (kai hemeis eis auton) “And we (exist) out of Him” - live, move, and have our being from Him daily. Acts 17:28;

Matthew 6:11; James 4:13-15; James 1:17.

4) “And one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all (kai eis kurios iesous christos di ou ta panta) “And one Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things exist.” (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:17-18; 1 Timothy 2:5.

5) “And we by him.” (kai hemeis di autou) “And we exist and are sustained by Him.” Colossians 2:9-10; Romans 5:10-11; Romans 5:9-10. By and in Him we exist, as new creatures. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18.

Verse 7

1) “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge.” (all’ ouk en pasin he gnosis) “But (strong adversative) there is not in all men the knowledge” - not all men know that there exists but one real, true God. Ephesians 4:6; Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 46:9.

2) “For some with conscience of the idol.” (tines de te sunetheia heos arti tou eidolou) “For some with a sub-conscious habit of the idol until this very moment.”

3) “Unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol.” - (heos arti) “Unto this very moment.” (hos eidolothuson eshiousin) “As on idolatrous sacrifice they are eating or partaking.”

4) “And their conscience being weak is defiled.” (kai he suneidesis auton asthenes ousa molunetai) “And the conscience of them being weak is defiled, weakened, or compromised.” One cannot worship or serve two Gods - this creates a conflict of conscience, a compromise of convictions and profession, Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13.

Verse 8

1) “But meat commendeth us not unto God.” (Broma de hemas ou parastesei to theo) “Moreover meat (food) does not stand us in favor with God.”

2) “For neither, if we eat, are we the better.” “if we eat (forge) not (meats) we are not behind” - (spiritually). One’s avoiding either the social or religious festive meats offered to idols did not cause him to be spiritually dwarfed.

3) “Neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” (oute ean phaomen perisseuomen) “Nor if we gorge do we stand spiritually stronger.” Paul asserted that eating of foods or meats was not an aid to spiritual excellence, nor was the neglect of it a certain doom to spiritual weakness.

Verse 9

1) “But take heed.” (de blepete) “But take a cautious look,” consider your liberty of conduct, others are watching you – Ephesians 3:15-16; Romans 12:2.

2) “Lest by any means this liberty of yours.” (me pos he eksousia humon haute) “Lest in some way this liberty you have or hold.” - to eat or not to eat meat offered to idols, the eating of which might neither hurt nor help spiritually, personally. -

3) “Become a stumblingblock.” (proskomma genetai) “Might become a stumblingblock, a coma, or obstruction.”

4) “To them that are weak.” (tois asthenesin) “to the ones weak,” among you. It is an axiom, a rule of morality and ethics, that no person should say or do anything in exercising his liberties, that might be either a primary or secondary influence in causing a weaker brother to stumble, injure himself, or go wrong morally or ethically. Galatians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 9:21-22.


Among the high Alps at certain seasons the traveler is told to proceed very quietly, for on the ‘steep slopes overhead the snow hangs so evenly balanced that the sound of a voice or the report of a gun may destroy the equilibrium, and bring down an immense avalanche that will overwhelm everything in ruin in its downward path. And so about our way there may be a soul in the very crisis of its mortal history, trembling between life and death, and a mere touch or shadow may determine its destiny. A young lady deeply impressed with the truth, and was ready, under a conviction of sin, to ask, “What must I do to be saved?” had all her solemn impressions dissipated by the unseemly laughter and jesting of a member of the church by her side as she passed out of the sanctuary. Her irreverent and worldly spirit cast a repellent shadow on that young lady not far from the kingdom of God.

- T. Stork


My life shall touch a dozen lives

Before this day is done,

Leave countless marks for good or

Re ere sets the evening sun,

This is the wish I always wish, the Prayer I always pray;

Lord, may my life help other lives It touches by the way.

- Selected

Verse 10

1) “For if any man see thee which hast knowledge,

(ean gar tis ide se ton echonta gnosin) “For if anyone behold you, the one having knowledge, one considered a mature Christian” - no man lives to himself, without influencing another – Romans 14:7.

2) “Sit at meat in the idol’s temple.” (en eidoleio katakeimenon) “Sitting in a lingering manner in an idol’s temple.” As if to sanction, by influence of presence, the worship of idols.

3) “Shall not the conscience of him which is weak.” (ouchi he suneidesis autou asthenous) “Shall not the conscience of the one that is weak” - The weak brother is to be restored, rescued from moral and religious wrong, not led into it. Galatians 6:1.

4) “Be emboldened.” (ontos oikodemethesetai) “be emboldened, or encouraged to stand up straight and defiant.” One must not let his good be evil spoken of! Romans 14:16.

5) “To eat things which are offered to idols.” (to ta eidolothuta esthiein) “to the eating of the idolatrous sacrifices?” To become a true disciple God’s children must often change the company they keep, the places they go, and the speech they use, so as not to bring shame to the church and profession of the believer, Romans 12:1; 1 Timothy 4:12.

Verse 11

1) “And through thy knowledge.’ (en te se gnosei) “in or by thy knowledge” - Though you know to eat the meat sacrificed to the idol will neither help nor hurt you - can you afford to do it?

2) “Shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” (apollutai gar ho asthenon ho adelphos di on christos apethanen) “Shall the one being weak as a brother, perish or be destroyed in his testimony, on behalf of whom Jesus died?” This rhetoric question is designed to assert that no child of God has a right to do anything that would cause another to stumble, even if the matter in question would not hurt him, personally - such as to dance, attend a theater, or go to a pool hall, etc.

Verse 12

1) “But when ye sin so against the brethren.” To sin against a weak brother is said to be a sin against Jesus Christ, or to live so that weak brethren may be led to do wrong is to sin against Jesus. Galatians 5:24-26.

2) “And wound their weak conscience.” (kai tuptontes auton ten suneidesin asthenouson) “And wounding the conscience of the weak ones” - A child of God may wound or injure the conscience of a weaker brother through using bad judgement or speech or conduct of personal influence. Matthew 5:15-16; James 4:17.

3) “Ye sin against Christ.” (Gk. eis christon amartanete) “Ye sin against Christ.” John 15:14.

Verse 13

1) “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend.” (diopen ei broma skandalizei ton adelphon mou) “Wherefore if food or meat (of any kind) should cause a brother of me to stumble, or be hurt”

2) “I will eat no flesh while the world standeth.” (ou me phago krea eis ton aiona) “I will not eat flesh forever.” To forego doing anything that might hurt another spiritually is a worthy goal for every child of God – 1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Corinthians 9:27.

3) “Lest I make my brother to offend.” (hina me ton adelphon mou skandaliso) “in er that I might not cause my brother to stumble or fall, spiritually,”

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.