1 Corinthians 10:29
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?
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(29) Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other.—In the previous verse there is nothing to indicate that the obligation not to eat the meat under such circumstances arises from a consideration of the tenderness of the other’s conscience. Here any danger of mistake as to whose conscience is meant is removed. Of course (says St. Paul) I mean his conscience, not yours. For no other man’s scruples are to bind my conscience. While the opinion or weakness of another is never to make my conscience waver from what it knows to be true, it may often be a reason for our sacrificing in act some personal indulgence.

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.Conscience, I say, not thine own - I know that you may have no scruples on the subject. I do not mean that with you this need be a matter of conscience. I do not put it on that; ground, as if an idol were anything, or as if it were in itself wrong, or as if the quality of the meat so offered had been changed; but I put it on the ground of not wounding the feelings of those who are scrupulous, or of leading them into sin.

For why is my liberty ... - There is much difficulty in this clause; for as it now stands, it seems to be entirely contradictory to what the apostle had been saying. He had been urging them to have respect to other people's consciences, and in some sense to give up their liberty to their opinions and feelings. Macknight and some others understand it as an objection: "Perhaps you will say, But why is my liberty to be ruled by another man's conscience?" Doddridge supposes that this and 1 Corinthians 10:30 come in as a kind of parenthesis, to prevent their extending his former caution beyond what he designed. "I speak only of acts obvious to human observation: for as to what immediately lies between God and my own soul, why is my liberty to be judged, arraigned, condemned at the bar of another man's conscience?" But it is probable that this is not an objection. The sense may be thus expressed: "I am free; I have "liberty" to partake of that food, if I please; there is no law against it, and it is not morally wrong: but if I do, when it is pointed out to me as having been sacrificed to idols, my liberty - the right which I exercise - will be "misconstrued, misjudged, condemned" (for so the word κρίνεται krinetai seems to be used here) by others. The weak and scrupulous believer will censure, judge, condemn me as regardless of what is proper, and as disposed to fall in with the customs of idolaters; and will suppose that I cannot have a good conscience. Under these circumstances, why should I act so as to expose myself to this censure and condemnation? It is better for me to abstain, and not to use this liberty in the case, but to deny myself for the sake of others."

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.

By reason of what we had, 1 Corinthians 10:28, (where the apostle forbade eating these meats, in case any at the feast told them they had been offered to idols, both for his sake that told him so, and also for conscience sake), it is most reasonable to interpret those words not thine own in this verse, not thine own only, there being frequent instances in Scripture where the negative particle must be so restrained, as John 4:42 6:27,38.

For why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For why should my practice in a thing wherein I have a liberty, be censured or condemned by the conscience of another, he being persuaded that what I do, and judge that I have a liberty to do, and may do lawfully, is done by me sinfully, and I by him accounted a transgressor for it; so as though I do a thing that is honest, yet it is not honest in the sight of all men, or of good report; whereas Christians are obliged, Romans 12:17, to provide things honest in the sight of all men, not in their own sight merely, end to do those things that are lovely and of good report, Philippians 3:8.

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.

Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: {8} for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?

(8) A reason: for we must take heed that our liberty is not spoken of as evil, and that the benefit of God which we ought to use with thanksgiving is not changed into impiety. And this is through our fault, if we choose rather to offend the conscience of the weak, than to yield a little of our liberty in a matter of no importance, and so give occasion to the weak to judge in such sort of us, and of Christian liberty. And the apostle takes these things upon his own person, that the Corinthians may have so much the less occasion to oppose anything against him.

1 Corinthians 10:29 f. Lest now any one should understand this last διὰ τ. συνείδ. as meaning one’s own conscience, as in 1 Corinthians 10:25; 1 Corinthians 10:27, and so misunderstand Paul with his high views of Christian freedom, he adds here this emphatic explanation, and the reason on which it rests (ἱνατί γάρ1 Corinthians 10:30).

τὴν ἑαυτοῦ] his own individual conscience, his, namely, who was warned.

τοῦ ἑτέρου] of the other in the case, points back to the τὸν μηνύσαντα, whose conscience, too, is afterwards included under ἄλλης συνειδήσεως.

ἱνατί γὰρ κ.τ.λ[1720]] For why is my liberty, etc., that is: for it is absurd that another man’s conscience should pronounce sentence (of condemnation) upon my liberty (my moral freedom from obligation as regards such things, indifferent as they are in themselves). This is the reason, why Paul does not mean one’s own conscience when he says that to spare conscience one should abstain from eating in the case supposed (1 Corinthians 10:28), but the conscience of the other. One’s own conscience, the distinctive moral element in one’s own self-consciousness, does not need such consideration; for it remains unaffected by the judgment passed and slander uttered, seeing that both are without foundation. The only motive for the abstinence, therefore, is the sparing of the conscience of others, not the danger to one’s own. Similarly Bengel; comp de Wette. The ordinary interpretation—adopted by Heydenreich, Flatt, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, Neander, Maier, Ewald, Hofmann; Osiander is undecided—is that of Chrysostom, taking the words as the reason for the rule in 1 Corinthians 10:28, in the sense of: “For why should I give occasion to others to pass judgment upon me and to speak evil?” or, “There is no reason for letting it come to such a pass, that a Christian’s liberty should be subjected to that tribunal of the moral consciousness of others,” Hofmann. But even apart from the fact that the text says nothing about “giving occasion,” or “letting it come to such a pass,” it is a very arbitrary proceeding to take a clause standing in such a marked way in the course of the argument as συνείδησινἑτέρου, and to thrust it aside as something only incidentally appended. The connection, too, of the conditional protasis with the interrogative ΤΊ in the apodosis in 1 Corinthians 10:30, makes it clear enough that Paul wishes to bring out the absurdity of the relation between the two conceptions. Comp Romans 3:7, al[1723] Vatablus, Schulz, and Pott find here and in 1 Corinthians 10:30 the objection of an opponent “ad infirmitatem fratrum suorum se conformare nolentis.” The ΓΆΡ is not inconsistent with this (see Fritzsche, a[1724] Matth. p. 807), but the ΟὖΝ is (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Observe the difference between ΤΟῦ ἙΤΈΡΟΥ (alterius) and ἄλλης (alius, i.e. alienae), by which any other conscience whatever is meant.

χάριτι] Dative of the manner: gratefully, with thanks. Comp Ephesians 2:5, where, however, the context shows that the meaning is by grace; see in general, Bernhardy, p. 100 f. It refers to the grace at meat. By understanding it as beneficio Dei (Beza, Grotius, Heydenreich, Hofmann), we bring in Dei entirely without warrant, and overlook the parallel εὐχαριστῶ, the idea of which is the same with that of ΧΆΡΙΤΙ.

The twice-used ἘΓΏ is emphatic: I for my part.

μετέχω] The object of the verb is self-evident: food and drink. Comp ὙΠῈΡ ΟὟ.

] “Gratiarum actio cibum omnem sanctificat, auctoritatem idolorum negat, Dei asserit; 1 Timothy 4:3 f.; Romans 14:6,” Bengel.

[1720] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1723] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1724] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

29. why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?] This and the following verse are a little obscure, but the sense appears to be that no man has a right to interfere with the liberty enjoyed by another, save so far as his own conduct and conscientious convictions are likely to be affected thereby. In fact the Apostle’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:28-30 may be thus paraphrased. “For conscience sake. Not that you are to feel conscience-stricken, as though you had yourself been doing something wrong, and given your neighbours a right to blame you. No man has any such right You were doing no harm. You had a perfect right to eat what was set before you with gratitude to God for what He had given. No, it is not of your own, but of your neighbour’s conscience, that I was speaking. To him you would be doing harm incalculable, if you allowed him to suppose that there was no sin in worshipping idols.”

1 Corinthians 10:29. Τὴν ἑαυτοῦ, thy own) comp. the preceding verse; or rather, because he is there speaking in the plural, my own; comp. this with what immediately follows.—ἑτέρου, of another) of whom, 1 Corinthians 10:28.—ἡ ἐλευθερία μου, my liberty) i.e. [Why am] I, along with the liberty of my conscience [judged]; so immediately after, by the conscience of another, i.e. by another along with his conscience which is encumbered with scruples.—κρίνεται, is judged) i.e., his weak conscience cannot deprive my conscience of its liberty.—ἄλλης, another) This word has greater force, than if it had been said, of another [judged by ANOTHER conscience; not as Engl. V. another man’s conscience].

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. 1 Corinthians 10:29
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