Lest I Make My Brother Stumble

1 Corinthians 8:13  

Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul addressed an issue that was dividing the church in Corinth. It seems much of the meat available in Corinth had been sacrificed to idols at one of the 16 or more temples and shrines in the city.

“A considerable amount of sacrificed meat ended up in the public market, on the tables of pagan neighbors and friends, or at the pagan festivals” (Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, note on 1 Corinthians 8:1).

Some of the Corinthians felt justified in eating the meat since they knew that the idols were nothing—that the so-called gods did not exist. But others in Corinth felt the meat was tainted by the pagan idols, and so they could not eat it as a matter of conscience.

Paul warned those who felt they had superior knowledge not to be puffed up, but to show love for their brothers who felt differently. We must not allow our actions to be a stumbling block to others. That’s why Paul said he was willing to give up meat altogether if that was necessary to not cause others to stumble.

For more on avoiding offense, see the commentary on Matthew 18:7, “Woe Because of Offenses.”

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