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“Introduction to 1 Corinthians 8”
1 Corinthians 8
Introduction to Chapter 8
Thoughts for Today:
In the next three chapters (eight, nine and ten), Paul will use the question the Corinthians asked about meat to answer larger questions related to Christian liberty. Throughout the City of Corinth, there were numerous temples where animals would be sacrificed to various deities. Some of the meat would be consumed on the altar, another portion given to the priest, and the remainder would be sold in the markets at a reduced price. The question the Corinthians posed to Paul was whether or not it was appropriate for believers to purchase and consume this discounted meat.
The debate had been raging for some time -- one group thought it was just food, while the other felt it had been defiled because it had previously been offered to idols. As far as Paul was concerned they were arguing the wrong point. The real issue wasn't the source or condition of the food, but the conscience of the person who was eating. It was the same approach Jesus took in Matthew 15:11: "What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them."
Although this particular issue might not seem relevant to Christians today, the general principle has many modern applications. For example, as Christians we should judge the correctness of our actions -- not only on what is right and wrong -- but also based on how our actions might impact others.
Questions to Ponder:
Do you think that your witness is more important than your personal liberty? How so? In what ways have you restricted your liberty to improve your witness? Are there any ways your witness should be improved?
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About the author
Pocket Devotions are written by Mike Brooks. A retired businessman, he is Moderator of South Shores church, leads the Deacon Board, serves on the finance committee, and he teaches a Men's Bible study and the Men's Ministry. Mike has a passion for evangelical missions. He is the husband of Sherry; the father of Ryan, Natalie, Krissy, Rebecca, and Amanda; the father-in-law of Ariel; and the grandfather of Conner and Christian.