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1 Corinthians 8


 1 And as (1) touching things sacrificed unto idols, we know that we (a) all have (*) knowledge. Knowledge (b) puffeth up, but love (c) edifieth.


(1) He entereth to entreat of another kind of things indifferent, to wit, of things offered to idols, or the use or flesh so offered and sacrificed. And first of all he removeth all those things which the Corinthians pretended in using things offered to idols without any respect. First of all they affirmed that this difference of meats was for unskillful men, but as for them, they knew well enough the benefit of Christ, which causeth all these things to be clean to them that are clean. Be it so saith Paul, be it that we are all sufficiently instructed in the knowledge of Christ, I say notwithstanding that we must not simply rest in this knowledge. The reason is, that unless our knowledge be tempered with charity, it doeth not only not avail, but also doeth much hurt, because it is the mistress of pride; nay it doeth not so much as deserve the name of godly knowledge, if it be separate from the love of God and therefore from the love of our neighbor.
(a) This general word is to be abridged as appeareth in 1 Corinthians 8:7; for there is a kind of taunt in it, as we may perceive by next verse: 1 Corinthians 8:2 .

(*) Of the liberty that God hath given us touching outward things.
(b) Ministereth occasion of vanity and pride, because it is void of charity.
(c) Instructed our neighbor.


 2 Now, if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing, yet as he ought to know.


 3 But if any man love God, the same is (*) known of him.


(*) Or, taught.


 4  (2) Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed unto (d) idols, we know that an idol is (e) (*) nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.


(2) The application of that answer to things offered to idols; I grant, saith he that an idol is indeed a vain imagination, and that there is but one God and Lord, therefore that meat cannot be made holy or profane by the idol; but it followeth not therefore that a man may without respect use those meats as any other.
(d) This word (Idol) in this place is taken for an image which is made to represent some godhead, that worship might be given unto it, whereupon came the word (idolatry) that is to say, Image service.
(e) Is a vain dream.

(*) This he speaketh in their person which bragged so much of their liberty, saying that an image amongst all things that are made is of no force.


 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven, or in earth (as there be many gods, and many (*) lords.)


(*) Which being idols, yet are esteemed of men as Lordís and Seigneurs.


 6 Yet unto us there is but one God, which is that Father, (f) of whom are all things, and we (g) in him; and (*) (h) one Lord Jesus Christ, (i) by whom are all things, and we by him.


(f) When the Father is distinguished from the Son, He is named the beginning of all things.
(g) We have our being in him.

(*) John 13:13; 1 Corinthians 12:3 .
(h) But as the Father is called Lord, so is the Son, God; therefore this word (One) doeth not respect the persons, but the natures.
(i) This word (By) doeth not signify the instrumental cause, but the efficient; For the Father and the Son work together, which is not so to be taken, that we make two causes, seeing they have both but one nature though they be distinct persons.


 7  (3) But every man hath not that knowledge; for (4) some having (k) (*) conscience of the idol, until this hour, eat as a thing sacrificed unto the idol, and so their conscience being weak, is defiled.


(3) The reason why that followeth not, is this, because there are many men which do not know that which you know. Now the judgments of outward things depend not only upon your conscience, but upon the conscience of them that behold you, and therefore your actions must be applied not only to your knowledge, but also to the ignorance of your brethren.
(4) An applying of the reason, there are many which cannot eat of things offered to idols, but with a wavering conscience, because they think them to be unclean; therefore if by example they enterprise to do that which inwardly they thinketh displeaseth God, their conscience is defiled with this eating, and thou hast been the occasion of this mischief.
(k) By conscience of the idol, he meaneth the secret judgment that they had within themselves, whereby they thought all things unclean that were offered to idols, and therefore they could not use them with good conscience. For this force hath conscience, that if it be good, it maketh things indifferent good, and if it be evil, it maketh them evil.

(*) In that they thought the meat offered up to the image, not to be pure, and therefore could not eat it with a good conscience.


 8  (5) But meat maketh us not acceptable to God, for neither if we eat, have we the (*) more; neither if we eat not, have we the less.


(5) An preventing of an objection: Why then, shall we therefore be deprived of our liberty? Nay, saith the Apostle, you shall lose no part of Christianity although you abstain for your brethren's sake, as also if you receive the meat, it maketh you no whit the more holy, for our commendation before God consisteth not in meats, but to use our liberty with offence of our brethren, is an abuse of liberty, the true use whereof is clean contrary, to wit, so to use it, as in using of it we have consideration of our weak brethren.

(*) This abundance and want is referred to spiritual things, Romans 14:17 .


 9 But take heed lest by any means this (*) power of yours be an occasion of falling, to them that are weak.


(*) Or, liberty in things indifferent.


 10  (6) For if any man see thee which hast knowledge, sit at table in the idolís temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak, be (*) (♣) boldened to eat those things which are sacrificed to idols?


(6) Another plain explication of the same reason, propounding the example of the sitting down at the table in the idol's temple, which thing the Corinthians did evil account of among things indifferent, because it is simply forbidden for the circumstance of the place, although offence do cease, as it shall be declared in his place.

(*) Greek, built up.

(♣) By thine example without any ground of doctrine.


 11  (7) And through thy knowledge shall the (*) (♣) weak brother perish, for whom Christ died.


(7) An amplification of the argument taken both of comparison and contraries; Thou wretched man, saith he, pleasing thyself with thy knowledge which indeed is none (for if you hadst true knowledge, thou wouldest not sit down to meat in idol's temple) wilt thou destroy your brother, hardening his weak conscience by this example to do evil, for whose salvation Christ himself hath died?

(*) Romans 14:15 .

(♣) Which eateth against his conscience, or in doubt.


 12  (8) Now when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.


(8) Another amplification: Such offending of our weak brethren redoundeth unto Christ, and therefore let not these men think that they have to do only with their brethren.


 13  (*) (9) Wherefore if meat offend my brother, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, that I may not offend my brother.


(*) Romans 14:21 .

(9) The conclusion, which Paul conceiveth in his own person, that he might not seem to exact that of others, which he will not be first subject unto himself. I had rather (saith he) abstain forever from all kind of flesh, then give occasion of sin to any of my brethren, much less would I refuse in any certain place or time for my brother's sake not to eat flesh offered to idols.





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