|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:23-33 There were cases wherein Christians might eat what had been offered to idols, without sin. Such as when the flesh was sold in the market as common food, for the priest to whom it had been given. But a Christian must not merely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and to edify others. Christianity by no means forbids the common offices of kindness, or allows uncourteous behaviour to any, however they may differ from us in religious sentiments or practices. But this is not to be understood of religious festivals, partaking in idolatrous worship. According to this advice of the apostle, Christians should take care not to use their liberty to the hurt of others, or to their own reproach. In eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the great end of all religion, and directs us where express rules are wanting. A holy, peaceable, and benevolent spirit, will disarm the greatest enemies.
Verse 29. - Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other. You may be well aware that you intend no sanction of idolatry, but if the other supposes that you do, you wound his conscience, which you have no right to do. Your own conscience has already decided for itself. For why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? These words explain why he said "conscience not thine own." The mere fact that another person thinks that we are doing wrong does not furnish the smallest proof that we are doing wrong. We stand or fall only to our own Master, and our consciences are free to form their own independent conclusion. Perhaps in this clause and the next verse we have an echo of the arguments used by the Corinthian "liberals," who objected to sacrifice themselves to the scruples of the weak. The independence of conscience is powerfully maintained in Romans 14:2-5.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Conscience I say, not thine own,.... Which is well informed about these things, and is fully persuaded that an idol is nothing, and that things sacrificed to idols are nothing; and as they cannot profit a man, or help forward his comfort, peace, and happiness, so they cannot hinder them:
but of the others; either the weak brother, or the unbelieving master of the feast; it is for the sake of their consciences such food must not be eaten, lest either the one should be grieved, or the other reproach:
for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? this is not an objection of the Corinthians, setting forth the unreasonableness of being condemned, for the use of their Christian liberty by another's conscience, be he who he will, believer or unbeliever, when they had an undoubted right to such an use, and their own consciences did not condemn them: but they are the words of the apostle, expressing his own sense, that it was not right and fitting that he should make use of his liberty, and eat under such a circumstance as here pointed out, and so his liberty should be condemned as sinful by another man's conscience; since the weak believer would be apt to censure, judge, and condemn him as a libertine, and the unbeliever as an atheist, or one that had no regard to any religion at all; and therefore he reasons, that it was best to abstain from eating, rather than expose his liberty to such a censure and condemnation.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29. Conscience … of the other—the weak brother introduced in 1Co 10:28.
for why is my liberty judged off another man's conscience?—Paul passes to the first person, to teach his converts by putting himself as it were in their position. The Greek terms for "the other" and "another" are distinct. "The other" is the one with whom Paul's and his Corinthian converts' concern is; "another" is any other with whom he and they have no concern. If a guest know the meat to be idol meat while I know it not, I have "liberty" to eat without being condemned by his "conscience" [Grotius]. Thus the "for," &c., is an argument for 1Co 10:27, "Eat, asking no questions." Or, Why should I give occasion by the rash use of my liberty that another should condemn it [Estius], or that my liberty should cause the destruction of my weak brother?" [Menochius]. Or, the words are those of the Corinthian objector (perhaps used in their letter, and so quoted by Paul), "Why is my liberty judged by another's conscience?" Why should not I be judged only by my own, and have liberty to do whatever it sanctions? Paul replies in 1Co 10:31, Your doing so ought always to be limited by regard to what most tends "to the glory of God" [Vatablus, Conybeare and Howson]. The first explanation is simplest; the "for," &c., in it refers to "not thine own" (that is, "not my own," in Paul's change to the first person); I am to abstain only in the case of liability to offend another's conscience; in cases where my own has no scruple, I am not bound, in God's judgment, by any other conscience than my own.
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