1 Corinthians 8:1-13

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Ordinary B10


Now concerning food sacrificed to idols:I we knowII that “all of us possess knowledge.”III Knowledge puffs up,IV but loveV builds up.VI 

Notes on verse 1

I “food sacrificed to idols” = eidolothutos. 10x in NT. From eidolon (image, idol, worship or an idol); {from eidos (form, shape, sight, appearance); from eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate)} + thuo (to breathe violently, seethe, rage; properly, to rush as breathing heavy; so smoke as in offering an animal sacrifice by fire; by extension, killing or slaying in general). This is what is sacrificed to an image or idol, particularly meat.
II “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
III “knowledge” = gnosis. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is knowing, knowledge, wisdom – understanding from personal experience that links theory to action.
IV “puffs up” = phusioo. 7x in NT. From phusa (air bellows) OR from phusia (inner nature, origin, birth, underlying make up, growth through natural processes like germination or progeny); from phuo (to produce, spring up, grow, germinate; perhaps originally meaning puff or blow).. This is to puff up or inflate by blowing something up. Figuratively, it can mean swelled like an arrogant person with a large ego or someone who is proud/haughty.
V “love” = agape. This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
VI “builds up” = oikodomeo. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple) + domeo (to build). This is to build a house or be a house builder. Figuratively, it can mean to edify or encourage, be strong or embolden.

Anyone who claimsVII to knowVIII something does not yet have the necessaryIX knowledge;X but anyone who lovesXI GodXII is known by him.

Notes on verses 2-3

VII “claims” = dokeo. From dokos (opinion). This is to have an opinion, seem, appear, think, suppose. It deals with a personal judgment. This is the root of the word “doxology.”
VIII “know” = ginosko. Related to “knowledge” in v1. See note III above.
IX “necessary” = dei. From deo (to tie, bind, compel; declare unlawful). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.
X Literally “he does not yet know as it is necessary to know.”
XI “loves” = agapao. Related to “love” in v1. Perhaps from agan (much). This is love, longing for, taking pleasure in. It is divine love or human love that echoes divine love.
XII “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

Hence, as to the eatingXIII of food offered to idols, we know that “no idolXIV in the worldXV really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 

Notes on verse 4

XIII “eating” = brosis. 11x in NT. From bibrosko (to eat). This is food and the act of eating. It is eating in a literal or figurative sense.
XIV “idol” = eidolon. Related to “food sacrificed to idols” in v1. 11x in NT. See note I above.
XV “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.

Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heavenXVI or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lordsXVII— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, JesusXVIII Christ,XIX through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Notes on verses 5-6

XVI “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
XVII “lords” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
XVIII “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
XIX “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.

It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomedXX to idols until now, they still think of the food they eatXXI as food offered to an idol; and their conscience,XXII being weak,XXIII is defiled.XXIV 

Notes on verse 7

XX “accustomed” = sunetheia. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + ethos (custom, morals, lifestyle); {from ethos (custom, usage, rite, behavior driven by tradition or religious custom); from etho (to be accustomed, act from habit or tradition)}. This is habit, custom, or practice.
XXI “eat” = esthio. This is to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust.
XXII “conscience” = suneidesis. From suneidon (to see together and so know, realize, consider, be conscious of); {from sun (with, together with) + eidon (shape, appearance, kind; something observable; form in a literal or figurative sense); from eido (to know, remember, perceive – to see and so understand)}. This is properly to know together. The conscience, found in all, is a moral and spiritual capacity granted by God so that we can understand together what is good and right.
XXIII “weak” = asthenes. From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}. This is without strength so weak, sick, helpless, frail, feeble. It can also be unimpressive or impotent. It can be used for physical or moral weakness.
XXIV “defiled” = moluno. 3x in NT. Perhaps from melas (ink). This is to stain, pollute, or defile. It can be a literal smearing with mud or a figurative spiritual stain.

“FoodXXV will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse offXXVI if we do not eat,XXVII and no better offXXVIII if we do. 

Notes on verse 8

XXV “food” = broma. Related to “eating” in v4. 17x in NT. From bibrosko (see note XIII above). This is any kind of food in a literal or figurative sense.
XXVI “worse off” = hustereo. 16x in NT. From husteros (last, later). This is to fall behind, be lacking, come late, be inferior to, or need. Figuratively, it can also mean not meeting a goal.
XXVII “eat” = phago. This is to eat, devour, or consume.
XXVIII “better off” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.

But take careXXIX that this libertyXXX of yours does not somehow become a stumbling blockXXXI to the weak. 

Notes on verse 9

XXIX “take care” = blepo. This is literally to see – it is primarily used in the physical sense. However, figuratively it can be seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, and acting on the visual information. It can also mean beware.
XXX “liberty” = exousia. From exesti (to be permitted or lawful); {from ek (out, out of) + eimi (to be, exist)}. This is power to act or weight. It especially denotes moral authority or influence. It can mean domain, liberty, freedom, capacity, mastery, right, force, or strength.
XXXI “stumbling block” = proskomma. 6x in NT. From proskopto (to kick against, stumble, strike, beat on, surge against like water does, or take offense; to trip up in a literal or figurative sense); {from pros (at, towards, for) + kopto (to cut, strike, cut off; beating the chest to lament and so to mourn)}. This is stumbling, obstacle, or something that causes one to stumble. It can also figuratively be a moral embarrassment or something that leads one to fall from faithfulness.

10 For if others seeXXXII you, who possess knowledge, eatingXXXIII in the temple of an idol,XXXIV might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouragedXXXV to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 

Notes on verse 10

XXXII “see” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
XXXIII “eating” = katakeimai. 12x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + (to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined; to lie down literally or figuratively). This is to lie down or recline. By implication, this would be reclining to eat at table or to lie in bed or to be ill (as one lying in bed).
XXXIV “temple of an idol” = eidoleion. Related to “food sacrificed to idols” in v1 & “idol” in v4. 1x in NT. From eidolon (see note I above). This is a temple that holds an image or an idol.
XXXV “be encouraged” = oikodomeo. Same as “builds up” in v1. See note VI above.

11 So by your knowledge those weakXXXVI believersXXXVII for whom Christ died are destroyed.XXXVIII 

Notes on verse 11

XXXVI “weak” = astheneo. Related to “weak” in v7. From asthenes (see note XXIII above). This is sick, feeble, languishing, impotent. Can also refer to moral weakness.
XXXVII “believers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
XXXVIII “destroyed” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.

12 But when you thus sinXXXIX against membersXL of your family, and woundXLI their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling,XLII I will never eat meat,XLIII so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

Notes on verses 12-13

XXXIX “sin” = hamartano. From a (not) + meros (a part or share, portion); {from meiromai (to get one’s allotment or portion)}. This term also used of archers not hitting their targets. Literally, it means not getting your share or to miss the mark. Figuratively, it meant to do wrong or to sin.
XL “members” = adelphos. Same as “believers” in v11. See note XXXVII above.
XLI “wound” = tupto. 14x in NT. This is to strike, beat, or wound – generally with a stick or cudgel. It is hitting with repeated blows. So, it contrasts with paiso and patasso, which describe single blows by hand or weapon. Also contrast plesso (beating with a fist or hammer), rhapizo (to slap), and tugchaono (hitting accidentally). This word is hitting to punish. Figuratively, it can refer to being offended.
XLII “is a cause of their falling” = skandalizo. From skandalon (the bait or portion of the trap that closes down on the victim – the trap’s trigger; a stumbling block, offense, or cause for error; something that sets into motion a negative cause and effect; something that causes one to stumble); perhaps from kampto (to bend or bow). This is to put a stumbling block in someone’s way. Figuratively, causing someone to sin or preventing them from good action. It can also mean to shock or offend. Literally, this is falling into a trap or tripping someone up. So, here, enticing someone to sin or apostasy.
XLIII {untranslated} = eis + ho + aion. Literally “into the age.” Aion is from the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.

Image credit: “Antiques Museum in the Royal Palace, Stockholm. Roman Relief: Sacrifice of a bull.”

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