8:1 Now 1 as touching things offered unto idols, we know that
we a all have knowledge. Knowledge b puffeth up, but
charity c edifieth.
(1) He begins to entreat of another type of indifferent things,
that is, things offered to idols, or the use of flesh so
offered and sacrificed. And first of all he removes 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 foods was for the
unskilful men, but as for them, they knew well enough the
benefit of Christ, which causes all these things to be
clean to those that are clean. Be it so, Paul says: even
if we are all sufficiently instructed in the knowledge of
Christ, I say nonetheless that we must not simply rest in
this knowledge. The reason is, that unless our knowledge is
tempered with charity, it does not only not avail, but also
does much hurt, because it is the mistress of pride. Nay,
it does not so much as deserve the name of godly knowledge,
if it is separate from the love of God, and therefore from
the love of our neighbour.
(a) This general word is to be abridged as (1Co 8:7)
appears, for there is a type of taunt in it, as
we may perceive by (1Co 8:2).
(b) Gives occasion of vanity and pride, because it is void
(c) Instructs our neighbour.
8:42 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that
are offered in sacrifice 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, he says, that an idol is indeed a vain
imagination, and that there is but one God and Lord, and
therefore that food cannot be made either holy or profane
by the idol. But it does not follow therefore, that a man
may, without regard of what they are, use those foods as
(d) The word "idol" in this place is taken for an image
which is made to represent some godhead, so that
worship might be given to it: whereupon came the word
"idolatry", that is to say, "image service".
(e) Is a vain dream.
8:6 But to us [there is but] one God, the 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.
(h) But as the Father is called Lord, so is the Son
therefore God: therefore this word "one" does not regard
the persons, but the natures.
(i) This word "by" does 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 are distinct persons.
8:73 Howbeit [there is] not in every man that knowledge: for
4 some with k conscience of the idol unto this hour eat
[it] as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience
being weak is defiled.
(3) The reason why that does not follow, is this: because there
are many men who do not know that which you know. Now the
judgment of outward things depend not only upon your
conscience, but upon the conscience of those 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 who cannot eat of
things offered to idols, except with a wavering conscience,
because they think them to be unclean. Therefore if by
your example they wish to do that which inwardly they
think displeases God, their conscience is defiled with this
eating, and you have been the occasion of this mischief.
(k) By conscience of the idol, he means the secret judgment
that they had within themselves, by which they thought
all things unclean that were offered to idols, and
therefore they could not use them with good conscience.
For conscience has this power, that if it is good, it
makes indifferent things good, and if it is evil, it
makes them evil.
8:85 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we
eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the
(5) An anticipation of an objection: why then will we therefore
be deprived of our liberty? Nay, says the apostle, you
will lose no part of Christianity although you abstain for
your brethren's sake, as also if you receive the food, for
it makes you in no way the more holy, for our commendation
before God consists not in foods. But to use our liberty
with offence of our brethren is an abuse of liberty, the
true use of which is completely contrary, that is, to use
it in such a way that we have consideration of our weak
8:106 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at
meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him
which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are
offered 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. This thing the Corinthians did wrongly consider
among things indifferent, because it is simply forbidden
for the circumstance of the place, even though the offence
had ceased, as it will be declared in its place.
8:117 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother
perish, for whom Christ died?
(7) An amplification of the argument taken both of comparison
and opposites: "You wretched man", he says, "pleasing
yourself with your knowledge which indeed is not knowledge,
for if you had true knowledge, you would not sit down to
eat food in an idol's temple. Will you destroy your
brother, hardening his weak conscience by this example to
do evil, for whose salvation Christ himself has died?"
8:128 But 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,
results in the offending of Christ, and therefore do not
let these men think that they have to deal only with their
8:139 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will
eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my
brother to offend.
(9) The conclusion, which Paul conceives in his own person,
that he might not seem to exact that of others which he
will not be first subject to himself. I had rather (he
says) abstain forever from all types of flesh, then give
occasion of sin to any of my brethren. And on a smaller
scale, in any certain place or time, I would refuse to eat
flesh offered to idols, for my brother's sake.